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Pompeo, in Iowa speech, declares ‘we are not a racist nation’

DES MOINES – Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo highlighted his social conservative credentials on Friday as he addressed a large and influential crowd of evangelicals in Iowa, the state that for half a century has led off the presidential nominating calendar.

And with a jam-packed schedule of events from morning until night during his second trip to the Hawkeye State already this year, Pompeo ignited more speculation about his likely national ambitions in the 2024 Republican presidential nomination race. 

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Asked about a potential White House run, Pompeo in an interview with Fox News said “I just haven’t given these things as much thought as the rest of the world seems to give it.”

Minutes earlier, as he addressed the 10th annual Family Leadership Summit, which is hosted by the Family Leader, a top Iowa based social conservative organization of White evangelicals, Pompeo highlighted that “we were in fact the most pro-life administration in history of the United States of America.”

Pompeo, an Army veteran and former congressman from Kansas who served as CIA director in then-President Trump’s administration before becoming America’s top diplomat, touted that “not a single dollar that came to the State Department ended up in the hands of an abortion provider somewhere in the world” during his tenure as secretary of state.

And he argued that “as we stare at all the problem sets we see today…the breakdown of the American family is at the core of most of them.”

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Pompeo repeatedly blasted President Biden’s administration, Democrats in Congress, and “the left,” which he accused of “undermining the family unit.”

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the Family Leadership Summit in Des Moines, Iowa, on July 16, 2021.

Spotlighting the combustible social wars issue, he charged that “you all see the garbage they’re trying to teach in our schools today. It comes under the various guises, often called Critical Race Theory. But sufficive to say it is a suggestion that somehow our nation is inherently and systemically racist.”

“We are not a defeated nation,” he declared. “We are not a nation in decline. We are not a racist nation. We are a God blessed Christian nation. Don’t let the woke socialists get you down. Keep working. Recommit yourself to the community.”

And he also took aim at the Biden administration for their “unwillingness to secure our southern border” – and blasted China as “a Godless nation challenging a God fearing people.”

He also criticized the president over the administration’s response to the anti-government protests in Cuba, telling Fox News “I regret that the Biden administration hasn’t lifted  finger” to help the demonstrators.

And he charged that Biden and his diplomatic team have “just muddled around.”

Pompeo, in his speech jokingly described himself as “an unemployed former diplomat.” But turning serious, he said “it has been tough for me to watch what is going on and what has gone on in these six months” since the end of the Trump administration. 

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“I wish that I was still there. I wish that I still had the opportunity to do the work that we did for four years protecting and securing your freedom and your rights,” he told the audience.

Pompeo highlighted his Hawkeye State connections, telling the crowd that “my wife Susan was born in Iowa City.”

The former secretary of state’s speech at the Family Leader summit was part of a busy Friday itinerary in Iowa. Pompeo started his day speaking to the Northside Conservatives Club in suburban Des Moines, which was followed by a coffee and conversation with the Republican Women of Central Iowa in Ames. He was scheduled to end his day headlining a fundraiser for Republican Rep. Marionette Miller-Meeks in Ottumwa, Iowa.

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But it’s not just Iowa. 

Pompeo headlined a couple of virtual events for the state party and candidates earlier this year in New Hampshire, which holds the presidential primary and votes second in the nominating calendar, after Iowa. And in two weeks he headlines a major state party fundraiser in South Carolina, which holds the first southern primary and votes third in the GOP nominating calendar.

The high profile stops in the early voting primary and caucus states comes as Pompeo travels across the country to help fellow Republicans win in the 2022 midterms elections.

Pointing to his stop to help Miller-Meeks, he noted that “she won by six votes last time” and joked that “I promised her if I came, we would double her winning total. We’re going to work hard.”

Asked about 2024, Pompeo, a Fox News contributor, said “my wife and I will pray and we’ll think our way through it and when we hit 2023, we’ll figure our way through it.”

And if Trump follows through on his repeated flirtations and launches another White House run, Pompeo said “President Trump will do his thing… he’ll make his choice. We’ll do our bit.”

And he vowed “I’m going to stay in that fight and I’m confident that President Trump is going to stay in that fight too. Where that actually takes us in 2023 and 2024, we’ll all have to wait and see.”