Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday he has to be “hard at it” by the spring if he plans to make a decision about mounting a White House campaign.
“We’re still working our way through,” Pompeo told Fox News, referring to his 2024 timetable. “We figured by the first quarter next year we need to be hard at it if we’re going to do it,” he added.
Pompeo, who was also CIA director during the Trump administration, reiterated that his former boss’s official launch of the 2024 bid wouldn’t keep him from running.
“If you put yourself forward to be a candidate for President of the United States, you damn well better believe that you got the spine of steel, the intellectual capability, and the temerity to be the commander in chief for the most important country in the history of civilization,” he said. “If you believe that it shouldn’t matter who the heck gets in the race, if you’re the only one, or if there’s 15 of you, go forward, make the arguments, competes for the minds and hearts of the voters across the county, and then they’ll sort it out.”
“Who else decides to get in the race won’t impact our decision,” Pompeo continued, referring to him and his wife Karen. “There’ll be lots of folks who think about it. There’ll be a handful who get in I’m sure, but the decisions those folks make will be independent of the decision that we make,” he added.
Pompeo also made remarks at the sidelines of the annual leadership meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event featured prominent Republicans, including likely presidential candidates former Vice President Mike Pence and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Former President Donald Trump also addressed the event by video link. The former president received a warm welcome in his first major public appearance after formally launching his new presidential campaign earlier in the week.
Pompeo, who has hinted several times about his intent to run for the nation’s highest office, teased about his possible 2024 candidacy when he took the stage. The former U.S. diplomat also joked he was “a warm-up act tonight” for Pence, who was scheduled to be the next speaker.
“Who knows? The next time we’re together, we could be on a stage with multiple podiums,” Pompeo said, alluding to a potential presidential debate with Pence.
“Who knows who will be between us and who knows what nicknames we might have?”
The former Republican congressman also recounted a phone conversation with the former president about a Washington Post article, in which he was described as “Trump’s most loyal allies.”
“I remember one day when President Trump called me, he asked me if I’d read The Washington Post that morning, because the headline had been ‘Mike Pompeo, President Trump’s most loyal cabinet member,’ and I remember saying to him, sir, I stopped reading The Washington Post,” Pompeo said.
“I said, Mr. President, you know, they didn’t intend that as a compliment. And he laughed and said, you know, you’re right, and he hung up.”
The event came after Republicans won back control of the House. Democrats are projected to maintain control of the Senate after winning key battleground states during the midterm elections.
Regarding GOPs results, the former Army officer said, “I’m proud of how well we did. I certainly wish we had done better.”
Trump, meanwhile, said flipping the lower chamber of Congress is just the “beginning of the battle” to save the United States.
“Breaking the radical Democrats’ grip on Congress this month was vital—is a great thing. But we’ve always known that 2022 was not the end, only the beginning of the battle to save our country,” Trump said. “Now, we have to take the fight straight to [President] Joe Biden and his radical and incompetent administration.”