Pompeo’s decision came after months of private deliberation with his family and public assertions that his former boss would not play a role in his decision to seek the presidency. In a Cabinet that was known for staffing drama and turnover, Pompeo gained a reputation as one of Trump’s most loyal foot soldiers. But in the Fox interview, Pompeo said that he will “see how the primary plays out” before making a decision on any endorsement, and that he might not support Trump.
“I think Americans are thirsting for people making arguments, not just tweets,” said Pompeo, when asked if he thinks anyone can beat Trump, who currently leads in polling.
The Republican primary field is already crowded and includes Trump, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, fintech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Sen. Tim Scott, (R-S.C.), who recently announced an exploratory committee. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former vice president Mike Pence have also signaled they plan to make announcements in the coming months.
The former congressman from Kansas recently wrapped up a book tour for his memoir, “Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love.” The book focused on his time driving foreign policy for the Trump administration and his book tour was widely seen as a testing ground for a presidential run. There were other telltale hints of Pompeo’s 2024 ambitions – he made frequent trips to states like Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina to headline GOP events and rub elbows with powerful players in early voting states.
In a sign of his ambitions to be a leading Republican voice on foreign affairs, Pompeo quietly led a delegation of business leaders and lawmakers on a trip to Kyiv in early April for a meeting with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Pompeo said he would encourage Washington to supply Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets and long-range missiles. On the ground, he toured with leaders from Samaritan’s Purse, an evangelical charity organization providing aid to Ukraine. That visit was largely overshadowed by news of Trump’s arraignment.
A retired Army captain with credentials from U.S. Military Academy at West Point and Harvard Law School, Pompeo pushed for a stronger NATO and increased military to deter Russia, even as Trump threatened to pull the U.S. out of the North Atlantic alliance. He was also one of the administration’s most vocal critics of China and its aggressions toward Taiwan.
Pompeo played a key role in the Abraham Accords, a peace agreement between the United Arab Emirates, Israel and Bahrain, and as an evangelical Christian he frequently touted the administration’s decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. He backed Trump’s decision to pull out of the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal and the administration’s subsequent sanctions pressure campaign.
Pompeo has expressed regret for not making more progress with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, even after accompanying Trump to his three summits to meet with the hermit nation’s leader and negotiate North Korea’s denuclearization.
Despite his decision to not enter the race, Pompeo said he would continue to play a role in Republican politics.
Pompeo added in a statement: “To those of you this announcement disappoints, my apologies. And to those of you this thrills, know that I’m 59 years-old. There remain many more opportunities for which the timing might be more fitting as presidential leadership becomes even more necessary.”