QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, welcome back to Focus on the Family.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Jim, it’s great to be with you today.
QUESTION: Let’s start with the creed of the State Department. I know you know it. If you can indulge me for the listeners, I’ll read it quickly. The State Department mission is to create a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world for the benefit of the American people and the international community. From where you’re sitting, are we achieving that goal?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Every day, Jim. President Trump’s leadership at home, when he talks about in the campaign about making America great again, we’re delivering that. We’re delivering it by doing good things we need to do here in this challenging time to push back against those who generated this virus, the place that it came from in Wuhan, to understand what happened so that we can solve this ongoing crisis. We’ve been very focused on trying to get the Chinese Communist Party to open up, to get transparency, so we can see what we need to see to save lives and get our economy going back again.
But all around the world, we have made clear America is prepared to lead. We’re going to do the right things. We have this nation founded on this central document that permits us to pursue life, liberty, happiness for our people, and when we do that, and we do that well, the State Department delivers that all across the world and that redounds to the benefit of every American.
QUESTION: It sure does, and we’re so grateful and appreciative for the work that you do, obviously, and President Trump’s leadership in that regard. Let me ask you, we had a little hiccup with a tech company. It was Google, to be honest, and you know they’ve tightened down a lot of their filters, et cetera. But in the course of correcting that as we – I got on the line with some people at Google. I was talking to actually a Christian who works there at Google. And he lamented the fact of how dark it can be, what humanity does to each other. And he sees it every day, and they’re trying to filter these things out.
I would imagine as the Secretary of State, you probably get a window into the darkness of humanity as well, don’t you?
SECRETARY POMPEO: It’s certainly the case that in my time both as CIA director and now as Secretary of State, I have seen that. I’ve seen places where there wasn’t a lot of hope for people on this material planet where the leadership treated them so poorly. You can see it with the million Uighurs that are detained in the western part of China just because of their faith. You can see it in other pockets of the world.
But I’ll say this, Jim, too. I’ve seen a lot of places where I know the Lord’s at work, where there is hope, even where the physical world may be difficult, the country may be poor, there may be real oppression from the government. But I watch humanity. I recognize the dignity of every human being, as does our State Department, and I can see – I also see lots of good things.
So while it’s certainly the case that there is a darkness out there that – the Bible talks about that since its –
SECRETARY POMPEO: – beginning. There is darkness. I also see that there are people of – not only Christians, but people of other faiths who have found a way and who can do and act in a way that’s consistent with the ideals that I know you and I both hold.
QUESTION: Yeah. When I think about it – and of course, I know you finished number one at West Point. So I was at Cal State San Bernardino, so I’m shaking a little bit to ask you this question. But when you think about it, Aristotle, Plato, these people, these philosophers that tried to get down to what is truth, what is truth really actually about, that’s another thing that you – you have a unique exposure to when nations are trying to manipulate and twist and turn. As a person of faith, how do those words – how do those words register with you when you talk about what is truth? Like Pontius Pilate; what is truth?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Sadly, Jim, there are leaders around the world who use deception and disinformation to deny the dignity to the citizens that they are tasked with leading. I see it all the time. I see nations that have chosen paths where propaganda and disinformation are the things that accrete them power and social status.
One of the blessings of working in America is that you – you get a chance to be part of this conversation where the media holds us accountable, where we have an obligation to tell the truth, where the American people get to see it all in all its glory. I know we’ve had issues with some of our tech companies, Google included, where we were concerned about what they were doing in terms of blocking information and content, that they weren’t being evenhanded in the way they do it. But I must say, when I watch what takes place inside of other countries where they are denied that information, whether it’s inside of North Korea or inside of China today where they don’t have access to basic information, you see bad things happen.
We’re in one of those moments where the Chinese Communist Party tried to suppress information about this virus, about where it began, about how it started, about how it was being transmitted from human to human, indeed employed the World Health Organization to further that storyline.
When you see the absence of truth and of people who are prepared to say – sometimes it’s I don’t know, but often to say, look, here’s what we’re working on and here’s what we know, and we’re going to keep working at it, you see that this is why democracies prevail. It’s why our Founders were so ingenious, and it’s why I’m convinced that America as the greatest civilization in the history of mankind will continue to prosper.
QUESTION: Well, and you know it’s – excuse me – and you know it’s difficult when you – when you’re at the pinnacle of diplomacy for the country and yet you’re a believer in Christ and you see this. It’s got to be – the long-range goal is to say, “How do I move a nation along toward vulnerability, toward visibility, transparency?” I mean, those are all good things, but it must be extremely frustrating to be in the process of trying to help a nation, whether it’s China or any nation you’re working with, to evolve in such a way that they can be more transparent. It’s – the Biblical analogy is so obvious that human beings, we try to cover up errors and mistakes. It’s the garden. It’s what happened to Adam and Eve, right. But how do you maintain a good attitude that there is a better place for all of us to get to, and then go into work every day trying to get there when you’re getting arrows thrown at you all the time?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, I am by nature a warrior, but a happy warrior. And so I try to walk in every day – and I fail at this too. We all fall short. But I try to walk in as someone who’s working on this with joy. I am Christian, so I have a belief that I understand what it is that we’re being asked to do here through God’s grace, but I know my responsibility to the Constitution and my duty. And so I just – I get this incredible privilege to serve as America’s chief diplomat, and as I stare at the challenges around the world I know that I can’t make them all right tomorrow, but my team at the State Department and all of the leaders in our government work every day to try and move the ball forward just a little bit, Jim. You’ve seen us do that on religious freedom. It’s something we’ve been very committed to. Not every country is at the same level.
We acknowledge that, but our mission set is to bring everybody a little bit further, to give every human being that chance to worship, to practice their faith, exercise their conscience in the way that they want to, and it’s been glorious to be part of making the world a little bit more religiously free. We have a long ways to go, but I am confident that with our continued efforts we can improve it.
QUESTION: Well, and I’m grateful as a Christian that the President and his administration, including you, have the courage to do that. And some people would consider that partisan, but I don’t care. If a Democrat were to do that, I’d support them, too, emotionally and be thankful for that support. And I hope more Democrats and Republicans agree to religious freedom as —
SECRETARY POMPEO: Goodness, Jim, my experience working on religious freedom, it is not remotely partisan. It’s been great. We’ve – I’ve worked alongside —
QUESTION: Not at all.
SECRETARY POMPEO: I’ve worked alongside Democrats. I’ve worked – people of multiple faiths. I’ve watched this. For those who understand its importance, the centrality that is to every human being being respected for their humanness, that doesn’t have a D or an R. It has – it is the way that America ought to operate and the way the world ought to operate if we can get it going right.
QUESTION: That’s so true. Hey, let me – a couple of other questions. One is just the generosity of the American spirit. I mean, I think I’ve seen a number like $6.5 billion have been given internationally by U.S. citizens, private companies, et cetera. As, again, the head – the lead person on our diplomacy side, that has to make you a bit proud that Americans know how to be generous, especially Latin America, other places. 6.5 billion is a lot of money to come out of our pockets to help other people we don’t know.
SECRETARY POMPEO: It is. This is – we have a long history of that and this has continued in the Trump administration. We’re enormously generous people. The $6.5 billion is more than any other nation gives. We’re just – that’s who we are as Americans. I – it does make me very, very proud. It makes me sad, too, when I see some people say, “Oh, goodness, America is not leading, America is not out in front trying to solve this pandemic,” or whatever it may be. No, the truth is the American people are always out there on the edge trying to get it right, and it’s not just that money. We have faith-based organizations all across the world coming from America, traveling to difficult places on mission trips and to go do good work, the lord’s work around the world. It’s remarkable to see that American spirit in place. I get a chance to travel and see it from time to time, and it’s always incredibly heartening to me. And when I talk to my colleagues around the world, they know. They know —
SECRETARY POMPEO: — that Americans are good and generous people.
QUESTION: That’s very good. I mean, it is the character of God. It’s his heart to have that generosity. And it is good to see people both of faith and even people not of faith operate with that.
Let me – let me finally go to something that intrigues me. I am a bit of a Tom Clancy fan, and being the former director of the CIA, it’s just fun to talk to you. But this Five Eyes report – I mean, even the title of it is kind of intriguing: the Five Eyes report. What is that and is that a common practice that these nations collaborate on intelligence to figure out what’s really going on in the world?
SECRETARY POMPEO: All right, I’ll give you a little Clancy. So yes, this is a – this is a group of five nations that gather together. It’s five of the world’s leading intelligence countries that have some of the finest intelligence organizations in the world. It’s the Aussies, the New Zealanders, the Canadians, ourselves, and the Brits. Those are the five members of the group. There’s a historic foundation for it that you can read about if you go online, but it’s a group that has worked closely together to try to practice and get – develop best practices, share information, and deliver good outcomes for not only those five nations but for the world and the Intelligence Community.
QUESTION: Man, in some ways that gives me such comfort that people seeking truth, governments that are hopefully truth seekers, can work together in that way to uncover things that are detrimental to the rest of the world. So thank you for that work.
Let me just end with that faith question. Being a man of faith, the 50,000-foot view, pre-pandemic, post-pandemic, what kind of world do we have post-pandemic? What does it look like?
SECRETARY POMPEO: So when I put that lens on it, I come to work every day, I’m not shy about my faith. I am confident that we will pass through this too, that we’ll obviously have to make sure that we do the right things to both keep people safe and healthy, and do the right things to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again. But I have every confidence that the United States will lead the world out of this time of crisis, and that in time this will continue to be a place that continues to look towards heaven and this nation will continue to lead in the way that it always has.
QUESTION: Well, Mr. Secretary, I am so appreciative of your work. I know on behalf of the 7 million listeners to Focus on the Family, they will be praying for you and lifting you up in your work there at the State Department. Thank you for being so bold about your faith. Thank you for being yielded to what God wants to do with your life for you and your family. We just appreciate you so very much. Thank you and make sure you hear those positive accolades as well, because I know you get the arrows all the time.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, Jim. Thanks for having me on today. I really do appreciate it.
QUESTION: All right, take care.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, sir.