Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sat down for an exclusive interview with Brian Kilmeade on Fox & Friends for a wide-ranging interview, only heard in full on The Brian Kilmeade Show. Brian asked the Secretary about the rocket attacks on Israel, democrats anti-Semitism, President Trump’s National Emergency declaration, North Korea, Google helping the Chinese military, President Trump’s upcoming meeting with China President Xi, Venezuela, Afghanistan, troop withdrawal, negotiating with the Taliban and his upcoming trip to the Middle East.
Listen here for the full-unedited interview
Rough transcript below
[00:00:04] Secretary great to see you. It’s great to be with you. There’s like four stories that happen on my way here to Washington to interview you one of which was a testimony this morning in front of a Senate committee where the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Dunford made it clear that indirectly Google is helping the Chinese military with their technology.
[00:00:21] This is the same google that said no to a Pentagon contract back in 2018. They testified to it today much to the amazement of many on Capitol Hill. What’s your reaction to that.
[00:00:34] So I don’t have much to add. I know what Chairman Dunford said this morning. He’s got it exactly right for sure but I’ll speak to this more broadly. We need global companies to come to the realization of the threat that China presents. Certainly American companies need to recognize that too. And when they’re there working here in the United States they certainly need to treat the United States at least as good as they treat the Chinese companies with which they interact.
[00:00:58] And I think that’s what German Dunford was get into this morning and I think also keeping on the China topic yesterday he went out of your way to point out that their human rights record is terrible. You say they’re in a class of their own in a league of their own. They treat the Muslims the wiggers and everyone in their midst. And they responded saying theU.S. should worry basically about their own human rights.
[00:01:20] So I hadn’t seen that response. But it’s. It’s both unfortunate and. Pretty typical of the way they treat their fellow human beings there. This is this is one of the worst human rights countries that we’ve seen since the 1930s the magnitude and the scale of this is truly a global proportion. Whether it’s the tigers that are in one part of the country or Christians or other religions and other parts of the country they don’t operate that honor that religious diversity the religious freedom. And I must say I’m incredibly proud of how we doing it how we treat human beings here in the United States. We make mistakes. We’re imperfect but there’s no nation in the history of civilization that has had the human rights record that we have here today. We should be very proud of it. The Trump administration has continued in that tradition.
[00:02:06] So this report coming here today. It looks like the president and President Xi that they are to meet at Mar a Lago. It’s not going to happen until at the earliest mid April. What can you tell us. I know trade is not your area but you’re very familiar with the magnitude of this event what it could mean for overall these two superpowers to meet what’s going on here.
[00:02:25] So we are progress has been made. I think that’s absolutely true. I think both leaders want to make sure that we’ve had enough progress so that the two seniors President Xi and President Trump can get together and close out any of the remaining items. I think they should do that. I think they should do it at a time when they’re both comfortable that they can get there. But I’ve watched these trade talks progress there’s real progress that’s been made and I’m hopeful whether it’s the beginning of April the middle of April or if it even takes a couple of weeks longer we ought to get this right. These trade relationships matter. It’s why President Trump took them on. And I’m very hopeful that the two leaders can come together to get a trade deal that will benefit not only America but the rest of the world as well.
[00:03:02] Secretary some have speculated that we’re on the outside seeing you and the president walk away in Hanoi made them worry that they could come all the way out to Florida or Washington and walk away with nothing which will be an embarrassment to the Chinese guy.
[00:03:18] I don’t know if that’s true or not. I can tell you from the experience in Hanoi the president was doing the right thing for the American people he had America’s security Americans interests at the core of his decision making process. And so when a deal was presented that didn’t make sense for America or frankly for South Korean and Japanese partners he walked away from it and made the decision not to take that deal. I’m sure the rest of the world observe that and recognizes the seriousness with which President Trumps they take protecting Americans because of the time change we were on life.
[00:03:49] And next thing you know you’re on stage in Italy and the itinerary is blown up and I’m watching you on stage you do a great job keeping a poker face on as the president spoke and talked about the deal you were going to have. Do you feel personally that you let him down.
[00:04:04] I don’t. I think we made real progress even in Hanoi even in a place where we didn’t reach the final resolution of what we’ve been asking for all along. We didn’t get an agreement for the full and final denuclearization and a verified way. But I think we’ve made progress in the weeks in the run up. We learned a lot about the North Koreans position in the days afterwards. I think we’ve learned a little bit more still. This is a long process. The president’s always said if we can keep missiles from flying and keep nuclear test from happening that’s a good first start. We know what the final objectives.
[00:04:35] And do you feel as though riding back on that plane that you say to yourself What is everyone to say about this.
[00:04:41] I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about what others say the the critique. They’ll have their own views. I’m confident that President Trump and our administration got this one right.
[00:04:49] Middlebury Institute has gotten everybody’s attention featured on various shows for what they’ve been able to reveal from satellite photos about the development of rockets and what the North Koreans weren’t doing and not doing. And according to Geoff Lewis they had indications even before Hanoi that they were beginning to rebuild some launching sites and testing engine sites. If that is indeed true did that play into the fact that you felt as though perhaps the North Koreans weren’t serious about a deal and were playing delay of game. Did you have that same information.
[00:05:21] O’BRIAN I don’t wanna talk about the intelligence that we had but I think the American people know we knew precisely what was going on inside of North Korea not just with those sites you’ve referred to but other places as well. We know what’s been happening. So theU.N. report talking about the fact that there are violations of theU.N. Security Council resolution taking place. We went in there with full knowledge and eyes wide open. The president’s decision though to take the offer which was. One part of their nuclear effort the facility Yongbyon which would have left missiles and warheads and other elements where they could still enrich uranium. All of those things were still going to be there. And in exchange for that they asked for the near total elimination of all the sanctions that just wasn’t something that made much sense and the president communicated that.
[00:06:05] And the fact is since that time there’s more indications they’re about to set up a rocket if something like that happens. What would that do to relations. What other Arrow do you have in your quiver to send him Tige that would maybe bring us back to where you were when you took over.
[00:06:22] I think we’re in a better place than when we took over so I don’t frankly want to go back to where we were.
[00:06:26] But what if the rockets go off with a missile goes over Japan again.
[00:06:29] I don’t want to I don’t want to forecast what we will do or what we might not do in the event that that happened that would that would be most unfortunate. I think Chairman Kim understands that he told President Trump in Hanoi that he wouldn’t go back to that he wouldn’t go back to firing and firing rockets and missiles or conducting nuclear tests we hope he’ll stay to his word.
[00:06:48] We also know that the Russians are cheating this video of them offloading cargo to a North Korean ship. So they’re breaking the sanctions. How can you get the message across to the North Koreans if the Chinese and Russians are ignoring the sanctions to a degree.
[00:07:02] Yeah. So there are absolutely sanctions violations and we are absolutely determined to stop as many of them as we can. Have a blessed day. Oh my goodness yes. No the Chinese know this. The Russians know this. We’ve shared the things we know about the violations. I will say this with the best sanctions enforcement even the Chinese and the Russians that we’ve had at any time in the history of this problem said it’s been a global effort. TheU.N. Security Council resolutions were voted on by every country. So while we are not perfect and these sanctions aren’t being perfectly enforced we’re in pretty good shape and we’re going to redouble our efforts.
[00:07:37] Have to do is go on social media. So your message to the Venezuelan people and basically saying hey I got you back. I understand what you’re going through and be patient. How much more garbage do they have to eat before America gets more directly involved. Boy.
[00:07:53] It is. I I’m pausing only because when I think about how bad it is today and what I know it’s going to be like tomorrow and the day after that it’s going to get worse. The Maduro regime is truly evil denying food to the hungry denying medicine to the sick. We’ve delivered the American people have been so generous 200 metric tons of food on their borders. They won’t let in. We are continuing to take efforts. We had our team land back in the United States just a few hours ago to get them safely out of Venezuela. We’re committed to this effort. I don’t want to forecast what the president may do but he’s been very clear that we’re considering every tool in the American arsenal to achieve victory for Venezuelan democracy and to get Maduro to leave have we put troops into Colombia ready to act should they need be need to act. Fine question and I’ll let the Department of penstock about the movements of their passengers.
[00:08:41] Question I am yes in Afghanistan right now we understand there is a draft agreement on two key issues withdrawal ofU.S. troops in Afghanistan and the Taliban’s pledge to cut ties with these terror with terror groups al Qaeda.
[00:08:54] Can you confirm that.
[00:08:56] I can’t. There’s there’s no deal at this point. We don’t have final resolution there but we are working towards a political reconciliation. We’ve been hard at it Ambassador Khalilzad has been on the ground in Doha for six or eight days back I think yesterday. We’ve made some progress both with the Afghan government and with the Taliban. We now need them to talk to each other. President’s made clear his objective here he wants to end this endless war. But he wants to do it in a way that we don’t increase risk to the United States from terror acts coming from Afghanistan. I believe we can achieve both of those groups.
[00:09:29] Secretary made clearly wants to get out any help did he hurt the ambassador and trying to get a peace agreement.
[00:09:34] No when the objective is to get out we’ve made more progress since that story leaked than we had made in the nine years prior in getting towards reconciliation.
[00:09:44] Is it true that members of the Taliban find that we let out get mad at you when the previous administration led out Gitmo. They are. They are part of these peace talks. Right now the ones who we exchange for Bowe Bergdahl many of which described to the worst of the worst many of which described a relationship with both bin Laden and Mullah Omar. Is that true.
[00:10:04] I don’t want to answer who’s been showing up there. I will say this. Is that acceptable. They are I’ll say this we’ve negotiate with some really bad people. I was in Hanoi talking to a regime that has caused enormous harm to its own people. State Department doesn’t often get to choose exactly who it is we’re trying to achieve good security outcomes for the American people.
[00:10:25] Sometimes we end up talking to some really bad folks and they would be OK to stay in that room with as far as you’re concerned. If we can deliver security for the American people we’ll talk to just about anyone but the Taliban have captured an entire Afghan force company of 50 they killed 70 the week before. Are we dealing from weakness.
[00:10:44] I don’t believe that at all and neither do the leaders on the ground including General Miller who’s commanding Resolute Support I believe we’re not dealing from weakness. We’re not naive. We know precisely who it is we’re sitting across the table from whether that’s in Korea or Iran or in. Afghanistan. We know who these people are and we’re picking points where America can be more secure.
[00:11:08] Secretary of West Point guy you’re a military guy with CIA experience a few years Congress but you do have that military training that 99 percent of the country doesn’t have.
[00:11:17] And you served you know that Pakistan. The problem. You know they’re training arming and equipping and without them the Taliban or vapor. How much longer are we going to put up with this.
[00:11:27] Well we’ve taken actions in Gephart against Pakistan that no other administration has taken. I I do see this. I see this from friends killed. You have to I’m sure lots of New Yorkers were killed when those towers came down. I’ve not forgotten the lesson from 9/11. We need Pakistan to do more. They have to stop harboring this terror. We saw what happened with India. The conflict that rose there as a result of terrorist that departed from Pakistan. We need the pact 10 has to step up. They need to stop harboring terrorists.
[00:11:55] You told going back to China every second you told the polls you told the Germans do not do a deal with Huawei. It’s about 5G it’s about security. It looks like they’re going through it anyway. What would happen if both of our allies decide to go with a Chinese company to lead the way on 5G and to tell the American people why that matters so much.
[00:12:15] I certainly can’t Huawei and Chinese telecommunications equipment in one’s network and a nation’s network presents a real risk that the Chinese government will have access to data that no American wants them to have. And so when you talk about this happening in countries like Poland or Germany or theU.K. We’re very concerned about that not only for American security because we have information stored there too but for the security of their own people. We have urged these countries to reconsider those policies. We view this technology as being threatening to their security. And we’ve told them if you put this technology in your equipment it will make it incredibly difficult for the United States to work alongside you in some of these.
[00:12:53] SECRETARY They’re not listening because Angela Merkel says we’ll hand our own intelligence thank you. And they still have that natural gas pipeline coming from Vladimir Putin into their country. The president told him that a good idea. You’ve told us not a good idea. Why are allies ignoring us.
[00:13:08] So there’s more work to do. We’ve made progress on lots of fronts. We’ve had some places where we still have work to do. Brian I agree with you. I wish Nord Stream 2 was something that the Germans would understand presented risk to the German people while they’re asking America to support them they’re handing resources money to the Russians they ought not to build it. We’re using American power. Every place we can to push back against these Jelen.
[00:13:30] Everyone’s talking about global warming and the threat to this country when you look at the top five threats to this nation. Where do you rank global warming or climate change.
[00:13:38] I wouldn’t put in the top five. Why. Because I can count to five. They get you the things that present more risk to people I used to represent in Kansas than citizens all across America whether it’s the threat that we’ve talked about today from China the nuclear proliferation risk that extends from Pakistan through all those folks who have these weapon systems places like North Korea where they can sell these weapons. I think I’m at five already but I could give you a whole list of threats that I think we can effect change on in a way that will really make a difference for the security of the American people.
[00:14:11] Before I came in here became clear the Republicans have jumped ship and decided to not vote a vote with a piece of legislation that does not go along with the president’s need for emergency money at the border used to be in Congress. What you also a Harvard law guy. So constitutionally was the president out of bounds. Do you side with the 59 they voted against the president. What do you side with the 41 they voted with him in the 41.
[00:14:39] Why. I’ve spent a lot of time with my Mexican counterparts this challenge at our southern border is real. I believe it’s a crisis but call it what you will. The challenge of not knowing who’s coming in and out of our country and what drugs are people or illicit materials might be coming across our southern border is real. We need to take serious action against the president’s executive order does just that.
[00:15:02] Should you do more with the with the Guatemalan government. Jimmy Miralis who evidently has an affinity for the president for this country to stop to stem the tide a lot most these guys come up with.
[00:15:14] That is right. These are mostly not Mexican citizens who are coming across today they’re coming out of the Northern Triangle countries from Honduras and from Guatemala. We’re working hard. We’re trying to both convince them they have to take this seriously and help them develop the capacity to do so.
[00:15:28] As I walked in here for the first time since 2014 if my stats are correct Israeli rockets came out of Gaza into Israel. Israel.
[00:15:36] What’s your reaction to that point. I saw the reports as well I’ve not been able to confirm them other than I had the initial report that said that there were two rockets that they came out of Gaza that there weren’t any injuries. The Israelis have the right to defend themselves. I’m confident that they will be able to do that. I regret that the folks in the Gaza Strip probably Hamas although I suppose we shouldn’t speculate fire these rockets and put Israelis at risk. This only presents an increased risk of escalation something that we hope doesn’t happen.
[00:16:09] But you should know we will support the Israeli’s right to defend the sea worry how much the anti Israeli anti Semitic language coming out mostly the Democratic side in Congress hurts long term the Israeli American relations.
[00:16:22] I do. I worry about it for a multiple reason not just the relationship between these two democracies but I worry about it because it undermines where we began today Brian. The protection of the dignity and rights and the religious freedom of every human being. And so when I hear anti-Semitic remarks it saddens me and I know it undermines what is the greatest about the United States of America.
[00:16:43] The story I anew today they talked about why is the secretary of state doing so much traveling in the country from Iowa to Texas to Kansas. Is he running for president. Is he running for Senate.
[00:16:54] Like all the problems we have ever had I’ve seen these stories. I suppose everybody gets unhappy when I don’t go to Martha’s Vineyard like my predecessors did.
[00:17:03] They travel domestically to America as our first client. And I wanted to go out to Iowa to talk about China and trade and why it matters. I went to Texas this week to talk about energy and how American innovation and creativity have created enormous wealth for America and increased America’s geostrategic capacity because we now don’t have to import as much energy and go back to Kansas next week to talk about entrepreneurship. I’m doing this on behalf of America.
[00:17:31] I’m very focused on what I’m doing here today. Are you ruling out running for the Senate in Kansas. I have. I’ve told folks I’m not going to do that long term would be or where I’d be surprised in 2024 if you’re running for president. I don’t know if you’d be but my wife would be shocked but your classmates probably wouldn’t. And lastly I understand you’re making a trip to the Middle East. I am next. Next week I’ll be headed off to the Middle East. What’s the objective. Where are you going.
[00:17:52] So threefold set of objectives. I’ll be traveling to Kuwait. I’ll be traveling to. Lebanon and I’ll be traveling to Israel on each of those places a different mission set. But the common theme in each of those places is helping those countries bolster their efforts to push back against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
[00:18:09] And that’s going to be the focus. Iraq and Iran meeting forging relationships. Iraq’s ignoring the sanctions and Grand Ayatollah Sistani sat down with the president of Iran. It seems like in terms of soft power diplomatic power we’re getting our butts kicked over there what’s happening.
[00:18:25] I don’t see it that way. America has been a strong supporter of Iraq. We still are working to take down ISIS in their country. I had a conversation with the prime minister just a couple of days back. I think we’re making progress and develop a strong independent sovereign Iraq. But there’s no doubt Iran has its eyes set on taking control of that country. I don’t think that’s good for the Iraqi people I know it’s not good for the United States of America and we’re going to continue to do the fight there and stand up an Iraqi government is free and less involved with what’s going on in Iran.
[00:18:56] There is a parliament member that says we don’t have a diplomatic game right now in Iraq.
[00:19:01] I disagree fundamentally. I know precisely what the diplomatic game is there. And if the Senate will confirm my ambassador or step it up even more that would help.
[00:19:09] Last question your predecessor famously basically admitted that he called the president a moron. You have a much different relationship with him. What does he not get that you get.
[00:19:20] You mean what does my what my predecessor not get yet to understand about the president. Boy I don’t know my relationship with the president is one that it’s. An effort on my part to execute his vision for America’s foreign policy. He’s the commander in chief. He provides the direction I go to every day and work my tail off to try to execute it and implement it for him. We talk just about every day either in person or on the phone. So I know what it is he’s thinking so that when I’m out talking with my foreign counterparts the world knows I’m speaking a message that President Trump wants spoken.
[00:19:50] How did he win you over. You originally were somebody else. What is it that President Trump that you set him on.
[00:19:56] He he won and was delivering on behalf of the American people and agenda that far outstripped any other opportunity. I was very proud to accept the offer to be his director of central intelligence or the CIA director. I enjoyed my time there and I’m enjoying being the secretary of state as well.
[00:20:13] And you talking about not just people relaxing for a year for a little while. Thanks so much. Thank you sir