US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday he will remain in his post as long as President Donald Trump wants him to, while a source said the top diplomat has ruled out a 2020 Senate run.
Pompeo met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday in the US Capitol “where he indicated he will not be running for Senate,” a person close to McConnell told AFP.
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“Leader McConnell believes Secretary Pompeo is doing an incredible job as Secretary of State and is exactly where the country needs him to be right now,” the source added.
Pompeo, one of Trump’s most trusted cabinet members, did not directly confirm the news himself when asked about it at a State Department press conference.
“I said the same thing yesterday that I said for months,” he told reporters. “I’m going to stay serving as secretary of state so long as President Trump shall have me.”
The news of Pompeo’s decision comes days after a US drone strike killed top Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani.
Pompeo has been a key Trump administration voice articulating Washington’s policy toward Iran in the aftermath, saying Sunday that the US would not hesitate to hit back hard against Iran’s “kleptocratic regime” if Americans came under attack.
Pompeo is also embroiled in the impeachment scandal that has threatened Trump’s presidency, with administration officials testifying that the secretary of state has first-hand knowledge of Trump’s pressure campaign against Ukraine.
McConnell, according to US media reports, had courted the 56-year-old former CIA director and ex-congressman for the Senate as a way to boost the likelihood of Republicans holding the seat that opened with the announced retirement of Senator Pat Roberts.
Trump said last November that he would support Pompeo if he chose to run for Senate, where Republicans are battling to hold their majority, and that “he would win in a landslide.”
Last year Pompeo gave several interviews to Kansas media.
He also created a personal Twitter account — standard procedure for American political candidates — where he praised local sports teams, posted dog pictures and offered holiday greetings.