WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump appeared to open the door on Friday for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to run for an open Senate seat in his home state of Kansas.
“He came to me and said ‘Look, I’d rather stay where I am,’ but he loves Kansas, he loves the people of Kansas,” Trump told “Fox & Friends.” “If he thought there was a chance of losing that seat, I think he would do that and he would win in a landslide because they love him in Kansas.”
Many Republicans see Pompeo as their best candidate for preventing the race from becoming competitive in Kansas, where a Democrat hasn’t won a Senate seat since 1932. And talk about his possible run has only intensified as impeachment hearings into Trump’s engagement with Ukraine have scrutinized the State Department.
Pompeo has said he’ll remain secretary of state as long as Trump will have him. Asked if he will push Pompeo to run, Trump was noncommittal:
“Mike has done an incredible job … Mike graduated No. 1 at Harvard Law, No. 1 at West Point. He’s an incredible guy, doing a great job in a very complicated world. Doing a great job as secretary of state. Mike would win easily in Kansas. Great state, and it’s a Trump state. He’d win easily.”
Pompeo has given no signal that he intends to leave his current job anytime soon, and aides say he has diplomatic travel planned through at least the end of January. En route to Brussels on Tuesday, Pompeo suggested to reporters accompanying him that he would be returning to the city several more times as secretary of state.
“He is 100% focused on being President Trump’s secretary of state,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said.
On Wednesday, Pompeo brushed off more questions about the impeachment inquiry and dismissed speculation about how long he’ll stay in the Trump administration. Pompeo met with NATO’s secretary general, while lawmakers heard testimony from Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, that he kept Pompeo informed of efforts to pressure Ukraine into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.