Who is Mike Pompeo, Trump’s pick to be the next secretary of state?
President Trump picked CIA director Mike Pompeo on Tuesday to replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of state. Here’s a look at his life and resume.
■ Pompeo is 54. He grew up in California and attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he graduated first in his class in 1986. He served as a cavalry officer in the Army until 1991, reaching the rank of captain.
■ He graduated from Harvard Law School in 1994 and was an editor of the Harvard Law review.
■ Pompeo founded Thayer Aerospace in Kansas in 1998 with help from investors including Koch Industries, which is run by brothers Charles and David Koch, the conservative political activists. After selling his stake in Thayer in 2006, Pompeo became president of Sentry International, an oil-drilling equipment company tied to Koch Industries.
■ He won a seat in the House of Representatives in 2010, representing Kansas. He ran as a Republican aligned with the Tea Party movement, and received significant backing from the Kochs. McClatchy reported in November 2016 that “Members of the Koch family, their employees and affiliated groups have donated a combined $357,300 to Pompeo’s campaigns and political action committee, according to The Center for Responsive Politics.”
■ In the House, Pompeo was seen as hawkish on national security issues. He defended the CIA against a 2014 report on widespread abuses in the agency’s treatment of prisoners in the post-9/11 era. “Our men and women who were tasked to keep us safe in the aftermath of 9/11 — our military and our intelligence warriors — are heroes, not pawns in some liberal game being played by the ACLU and Senator Feinstein,” Pompeo said on Dec. 9, 2014.
■ According to Politico, “Pompeo was a strident voice on the House’s special committee to investigate the Benghazi attacks, ultimately joining in a statement that blasted former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton more harshly than most of his Republican colleagues.”
■ He was also a harsh critic of the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran, supports keeping the Guantanamo Bay detention center open, and believes that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden should “be given a death sentence.”
■ After the Boston Marathon attack in 2013, Pompeo “accused Muslim American leaders of being ‘potentially complicit’ by failing to condemn extremist views more forcibly,” the Washington Post reported.
■ Pompeo was confirmed as Trump’s CIA director shortly after the president’s inauguration last year. In that role, he has acknowledged Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election, despite denials of that by Trump and the White House. And he has “every expectation that they will continue to try and do that in” the 2018 midterm elections, he said in January. “But I am confident that America will be able to have a free and fair election — that we’ll push back in a way that is sufficiently robust that the impact they have on our election won’t be great.”