QUESTION: We have on the line our very first guest of the day. He is a very close confidant of the President, a true pugilist, a member of his cabinet. He was first in his class in West Point, former director of the CIA, and now the Secretary of State. Secretary Pompeo, welcome back to America First.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Seb, it’s great to be back with you. Hope you’re doing great today.
QUESTION: We are doing marvelously, especially after last night’s presser with the President and his coronavirus response team. I dread to ask you – I knew – I remember that lunch we had in the Navy mess under the West Wing seems like a decade ago.
SECRETARY POMPEO: (Laughter.) It does seem like it.
QUESTION: And I know how hard you’ve been working at the CIA and the State Department. I cannot begin to imagine what it’s been like in the last few months inside the upper echelons of the administration as we respond to the COVID threat, the China virus threat. Good news abounding everywhere, but I have to ask you to share with us the incredible work. Your team has been sending me low side, unclassified information that we share on our show here about what China has said about the virus, its information campaign, its propaganda campaign. Today we find out there are 50 percent more fatalities, more coronavirus infections in Wuhan than originally admitted to. Can you explain to our millions of listeners and viewers across the nation just how diabolical the information warfare has been out of Beijing with regard to this deadly pandemic?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, Seb, look, thanks for having me on today. In fact, it was a good news story that the President presented last night, talking about how we’re going to get the economy cranked back up. That’s incredibly important and will save tens of thousands of lives getting it going back again.
As for the disinformation that we have seen, let me start with why it’s important. It matters that we know where this virus originated. Look, we know it started in Wuhan, but we don’t know precisely where, and it matters. Scientists and epidemiologists need to know its origins. It matters what countries did during this time, whether they purchased up PPE and brought it back to their country. It matters what countries are doing when they’re delivering these goods around the world and whether they work or not.
And what we have seen consistently is that the Chinese Communist Party has worked to put the brightest face on these things and to do that to the detriment of the United States. And we have and the President has tried to push back against this immediately. When the Chinese Communist Party had someone announce that this virus might have originated from a bioweapons lab here in the States or from a soldier, it was a little confusing what they were trying to say, but suffice it to say, it was clearly wrong. The President pushed back on that. It is important for freedom-loving nations to make sure that the world has accurate information.
QUESTION: But when somebody – when an ambassador, for example, a Chinese ambassador in South Africa makes statements, open statements to the effect that this didn’t come from China, America is responsible, or this was exported to China by the U.S. military, that’s not an accident, Secretary Pompeo. That is intentional. And doesn’t that tell us, really, the nature of the communist regime in Beijing?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Seb, you’ve been around this information warfare game for an awfully long time. It’s both dangerous and intentional when countries try to tell a story that they know is inconsistent with the facts. It’s dangerous in the short run; that is, we don’t get responses, we don’t get medical treatments, we don’t get vaccines as quickly as we need to. It’s dangerous in the long run because it obfuscates responsibility for what has taken place and tries to leverage information, false information in a way that leads to people who are trying to get data, they’re on social media trying to get data, they’re reading their Facebook posts trying to get real data, and they see government entities putting out information that’s false. It’s dangerous, it is intentional when it happens, and we have a responsibility, all of us as leaders, to push back against it and make sure accurate information is available and that people know who the trusted sources of information actually are.
QUESTION: One of your initiatives as Secretary of State prior to this national emergency and this global pandemic was to rephrase the concept of human rights in the American tradition of unalienable rights, that there are rights that are universal, that are transcendental in their focal point. As the person who’s reinvigorated that concept as a member of the Trump cabinet, let me ask you a question that I hope you won’t find naive and it has to do with the consequences of the Chinese Wuhan virus. Shouldn’t we ask a very simple question as to whether or not America should be doing business at all with a nation where they have labor camps, where if you speak the truth you can get arrested? Will this pandemic lead to a ground-up reassessment of our relations with the largest communist dictatorship in the world, Secretary Pompeo?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Seb, we have a lot of questions that we need to ask, and the good news is that President Trump has been asking these questions for a long time.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Since he started campaigning at the very least he was asking questions about our trade relationship with the Chinese Communist Party. He was asking about information technology. The administration has been working hard. You speak about information risk, making sure that it’s not Chinese technology that is operating the backbones and networks of our friends and partners around the world, trying to push back against Huawei to prevent that from happening, to make sure that the Chinese Communist Party didn’t control the communications infrastructure. And then there’ll be questions asked about commerce more broadly. We’ve seen that we can’t depend for things that matter, things that are critical to American security to have – to be dependent on China as a sole supplier for those goods, whether that’s pharmaceuticals or some other equipment. We need to ask those questions and a broader set of questions.
Today’s not the day for that. Today is the day to really focus on making sure we respond to this virus in a timely way and get the economy going. But it won’t be long, it won’t be long before those are the right questions to be asking, and I hope everyone – the private sector, nongovernmental entities, every institution – will take a look at what they’re doing and asking themselves if the right thing to do is to continue on the path that they were on or make sure that we’re doing the right things for democracies and freedom loving nations around the world.
QUESTION: He is the 70th Secretary of State, follow him right now @SecPompeo on Twitter. In the last 30 seconds literally we have with you, I haven’t spoken to the President since before the lockdown. How is the President doing?
SECRETARY POMPEO: You get a chance to see him every day, Seb. He’s doing great. He’s listening to the facts. He’s taking on board the data. He’s making good judgments. He’s had some very difficult decisions to make in these past weeks. He’s made really good ones. And the American people should be confident he’ll continue to do that. He’ll continue to evaluate the situation and make decisions that protect the American people. He’s committed to it.
QUESTION: Well, we are very grateful. The millions of listeners, viewers to our show here in America are very grateful that he has people of your caliber, truth-tellers, and as hard working as you are around him. We’ve been talking to Secretary Mike Pompeo.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, Seb. (Inaudible.)
QUESTION: Follow him @SecPompeo on Twitter. I am Sebastian Gorka, former strategist to President Trump. This is America First on the Salem Radio Network.