In an exclusive interview with “The Daily Signal Podcast,” former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticizes the Biden administration for asking the United Nations to send its racism experts to the U.S.
“Our administration understood that the U.N. Human Rights Commission was simply … a bunch of antisemitic thugs who spend most of their time nagging on Israel for the things they do simply to defend themselves.,” says Pompeo. “To invite them in to look at American systemic racism, which frankly, doesn’t exist … we know what these reports will end up saying. We know they’ll say, ‘Oh, this is racism and the Americans need do X, Y, and Z to go fix it.'”
“This is a commission occupied by people like Venezuela, by the Iranians,” Pompeo adds. “These are bad actors trying to stick the thumb in the eye of the American people.”
“To have permitted them to come in and evaluate racism in America is an enormous mistake … They’ll come after America hard, and we shouldn’t let them do that,” the former secretary of state says.
Read the lightly edited transcript, pasted below, or listen to the podcast to learn more about what Pompeo has to say about this, what he describes as the Biden administration’s failure to lead on China and Hong Kong policies, and how the administration has put climate change ahead of American security.
We also cover these stories:
- Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has another heated exchange with Dr. Anthony Fauci at a Senate committee hearing.
- House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., names five Republicans to serve on a special committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
- White House press secretary Jen Psaki avoids answering questions about which Facebook posts the Biden administration will flag as misinformation.
Listen to the podcast below or read the lightly edited transcript.
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Rachel del Guidice: We’re joined on The Daily Signal by former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Secretary Pompeo, thank you for being with us again on The Daily Signal.
Mike Pompeo: It’s great to be back on The Daily Signal. You all are going a great job.
Del Guidice: Well, it’s great to have you with us. You remarked recently on Twitter that the current administration, the Biden administration, is putting climate change ahead of challenging the Chinese Communist Party. Can you tell more about what’s going on here and why you said that?
Pompeo: Our administration was the first in 40 years to confront the communism and tyranny of the Chinese Communist Party. It had been, frankly, pretty bipartisan that we would just go along and get along with the Chinese to sell a few more trinkets. I think the world can see now that no longer what happens in Beijing stays in Beijing.
Sadly, this administration’s reversed much of the good work we did to try and support the people of Tibet, the people of Hong Kong, and frankly, to make sure that we don’t live in a world that’s dominated by China five or 10 or 15 years from now.
The first person they sent into China is John Kerry. That’s a bad sign. That tells you that you’re going to put climate change ahead of American security.
And we know this, the Chinese aren’t going to do anything on climate change. Half of the urban [carbon dioxide] that’s submitted comes from 25 cities. Of those 25 cities, 22 are inside of China, and they want to shut our economy down to try and fix that problem set.
They’re not serious about China. You saw what happened to Secretary [of State Antony] Blinken on the first trip to Anchorage. We’ve seen no response to the Wuhan virus killing millions. I hope this administration will come to understand that China is the central thread of our times and will begin to confront it the way that we did for four years.
Del Guidice: Well, on Monday, very recently, today, the Biden administration did call out China for cyberattacks. Do you see the threat of cyberattacks continuing?
Pompeo: It’s real and it’s a problem. It’s cheap to do. Offense is easy to play. Defense is really, really complicated and really hard. And so, while you have to play defense securing networks and doing that challenging technical work, the United States government has the responsibility, it has to deter these bad actors.
So if this was China, as they say it is, they’ve got to go impose real costs on the Chinese decision-makers who permitted that to happen or this will flourish.
And if you allow [Russian President] Vladimir Putin and his thugs to continue to conduct ransomware campaigns all across America and shut down the American economy without any cost to the leadership, it’ll happen again.
This is a deterrence model that has to be established and that means the United States is going to have to take real actions to impose real costs on the real bad actors.
Del Guidice: Secretary Pompeo, you remarked on this earlier, but what do you think of the Biden administration’s general approach to China? Where do you see weakness and where do you see opportunities for them to alter that weakness?
Pompeo: They’ve actually said the right thing on many fronts. They confirmed the genocide is still taking place in western China. They’ve acknowledged that the Chinese Communist Party is refusing to even talk about their missile and nuclear programs. Those are the right policies.
They’ve said the right words on Taiwan, although I worry that the Chinese believe that when push comes to shove, the Americans won’t be with them under the Biden administration if they go confront the Taiwanese in a way that is very, very dangerous. I pray that I’m wrong about that. They need to demonstrate that resolve.
President [Ronald] Reagan had this right: Weakness begets war. And peace, strength go together. If we show weakness, if we are unable to muster the courage to confront the Chinese government, then the Chinese will walk all over us.
And that means they’ll walk all over the world, and 10 and 15 and 20 years from now, we’ll live in a world that looks like a China-centric model that is the Middle Kingdom controlling and having hegemony over too much of our world. And that’s not good for my kids and if I’m blessed one day, my grandchildren.
Del Guidice: Secretary of State Blinken also recently invited racism experts to come to the U.S. from the United Nations and talk about racism. This happened very recently about a week or two ago. What’s your perspective of this invitation?
Pompeo: It’s nonsensical. Our administration understood that the U.N. Human Rights Commission was simply a bunch of thoughts, frankly, a bunch of antisematic thugs, who spend most of their time nagging on Israel for the things they do simply to defend themselves.
To invite them in to look at American systemic racism—which frankly, doesn’t exist, we know this is a nation that is more perfect every day and how we treat people with dignity they deserve because they’re created in the image of God—and to allow them to come in, we know what these reports will end up saying. We know they’ll say, “Oh, this is racism and the Americans need do X, Y, and Z to go fix it.”
This is a commission occupied by people like Venezuela, by the Iranians. These are bad actors trying to stick the thumb in the eye of the American people. To have permitted them to come in and evaluate racism in America is an enormous mistake.
They’re certainly not in China looking at what’s going on with the Uighurs. They’re not in Venezuela seeing what [dictator Nicolás] Maduro is doing. They wrote a small report about Venezuela that was duly ignored. They’ll come after America hard, and we shouldn’t let them do that. The U.N. is not the right body to make sure that our America is functioning in the way that it needs to.
Del Guidice: Well, President [Joe] Biden recently had his first trip to Europe, and on Twitter you commented how usually these trips are done to put America first. Was that what happened in this trip, in your perspective?
Pompeo: No. They went there to make friends. They went there to attend nice parties. They went there to essentially apologize for four years of the Trump administration. The Europeans were happy to welcome them. They’re happy to say, “Boy, it’s a good thing President [Donald] Trump and Mike Pompeo are gone.”
It’s not about making friends. It’s about earning respect. It’s about preserving American security and freedom. When we do those things, good things will happen for our European friends and allies.
They are great partners of ours. But it can’t be the case that NATO is solely on the backs of the American people. It can’t be that trade and economic growth are done with unfair trade deals between the United States and Europe. It can’t be the case that our diplomacy apologizes for the work that we do around the world.
We need to be firm with our friends, we need to hug them, and then we need to make clear we’re going to do things that make sense for the American people. It’s not what they did on that trip.
It was a mistake to go there and then to allow Vladimir Putin to stand alone on a podium and talk about Black Lives Matter and the riots in Washington, D.C., and all across our country without the president standing up and saying to the president of Russia, “No, Mr. President, that’s just wrong. America is the most exceptional nation in the history of civilization,” and to defend it with all the energy he could muster.
Del Guidice: During your time as secretary of state, you did so much to work on religious freedom, protecting it at home and abroad. What is your perspective on the state of religious freedom in the United States right now?
Pompeo: So I did. I was able to work on this all across the world. That was really important to our administration. We believed and I believe that the more religious freedom is provided to people all across the world, the less risk there is of tyranny and oppression, but also the less risk that there’ll be war. Countries that are more free, more tolerant of different religions, have a way of working things out amongst themselves.
I watch what’s happening here at home. I watched what happened during the lockdown from the Wuhan virus. I watched our churches and our pastors not be able to gather. I saw synagogues that couldn’t open while bars were open. That is inconsistent with our Constitution, it’s deeply immoral, and it’s not good for the very Judeo-Christian foundation of the United States of America either.
I worry about religious freedom at home. There are those who want to take it away. They want to make America a more secular nation, something more like Europe. That’s not how our country has been so successful for 245 years.
Del Guidice: On that note, speaking of the state of religious freedom in this country, [in] Canada we’ve seen pastors be thrown in jail. We’ve seen churches shut down for COVID violations. That’s what their law enforcement is saying. We’ve seen this happen in Canada right next to us. Do you see or feel that something that serious could happen potentially in this country? And are you concerned about the trajectory of where we are headed?
Pompeo: I’m very concerned about the trajectory. It seems almost unimaginable to me that something like that would happen here. But I must say, over these first six months of the Biden administration, I’ve seen a whole handful of things that I would have said were unimaginable six months ago.
Take a look at our southern border. We had that figured out. We had literally turned off the spigot and we had made life better for the people of Guatemala and El Salvador and Honduras and Mexico. And we had control of our southern border.
Today, you can see right now over a million people already this year who come across illegally. They ripped the Band-Aid off because it was Mike Pompeo who negotiated “Remain in Mexico.” It was Donald Trump who built the wall. And for that reason and that reason alone, they ripped it off, and you could see the staggeringly bad results.
So when it comes to religious freedom and whether we could have some pastor or some rabbi locked up because they simply wanted to be with their flock, I pray that that day doesn’t come.
Del Guidice: On that note, I think we see a lot of people, at least some on the left, who think, “We live in a free country. This is alarmist language. We’d never see a situation in this country happen.” What would you say to them?
Pompeo: You can never take it for granted. Our Founders knew this. I worked on the problem set across the world for the last four years, but most of my life I’ve spent trying to advocate for freedom here in the United of America.
If our republic falls, it’ll be because of a failure here at home. It will be about some dumb idea we teach in our schools, like that people are racist just because they’re white or our nation was ill-founded because it really began in 1619, not 1776. Those ideas undermine the central pillars, the very foundation, of our country.
So when people say something like, “That could never happen,” I don’t think anybody believed that our curriculum would be filled with ideas that suggested somehow one is racist for just simply demanding that every human being be treated the same, that equality was now viewed as racist. It was unimaginable just a few years ago and we are living through that today.
Del Guidice: I want to talk for a moment about your time as secretary of state. Is there a moment or a trip that stands out to you as something that you like to talk about or a time where you learned something or just a time that you’ll always remember as, “Wow, this is something that I’m really grateful I was able to be in this position for”?
Pompeo: Wow, there are so many, so many wonderful experiences and great memories and good work that me and my team did. I loved the trip that I was able to take to Turkey to meet with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in Turkey, a church that is under threat from President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan and from the Russians.
It was glorious to go to North Korea to meet with Chairman Kim [Jong Un] and bring back three Americans who had been held hostage there not long after we’d had an American, Otto Warmbier, returned only to die a few hours after he returned home from that terrible authoritarian thug in North Korea. It was an incredible blessing to be able to talk to Chairman Kim and convince him that he should let those three Americans come home.
And when I first saw them, when I first saw them climbing aboard our plane there in Pyongyang, I can’t remember a time other than the day I was married and all those good things, I can’t remember a time in my public life where I was so encouraged and so joyous about something that I’d had at least a little bit something to deal with.
Del Guidice: You recently wrote a piece for National Review and in it you talked about how this country needs a revival. Can you talk about that piece and tell us about this revival that you see that this country needs?
Pompeo: Well, the revival is underway. I’ve been traveling these last six months. I’ve been traveling all across America. People are just saying, “Enough.”
The way to think about the revival is this, for a long time, I think a lot of us took for granted some of the basic things we’ve been talking about here on this show. The capacity to go to church and worship in the way we want, the ability to choose which job we want and go work there, the capacity to actually walk into a store without a mask on your face. We couldn’t have imagined some of the things we’ve been through in this last year and now these last six months.
I think the American people are saying, “Enough.” I can see it all across the country.
I was in Iowa the day before yesterday, I was in Southwest Missouri yesterday. People are just saying, “You’re not going to teach my kids this garbage. You’re not going to take away my capacity to go practice my faith in the way that I want to. I’m going to go to that PTA meeting that I would have never thought about going to. I’m going to run for city council. I couldn’t have imagined months ago I was going to run for city council.”
That revival, that awakening is happening, and I believe it is a spiritual revival as well. People are being reminded of their faith and the importance of their faith to these very civic institutions that matter so much across our country.
I am confident that is happening and I pray that our leaders, I pray leaders for both parties, but certainly the leaders in my party who I think understand this, will be fearless and helping make sure that this revival is rewarded in our central institutions.
Del Guidice: We’ve talked about China. What about Russia? What do you think the Biden administration should do to meet the threat of Russia that’s continually increasing?
Pompeo: The first thing they did was hand them a New START Treaty. It’s a little bit in the weeds, but it’s a nuclear agreement that had been in place and was about to expire. We had told the Russians we weren’t going to renew it unless we got some significant changes that benefited the United States.
Within days of taking office the Biden administration said, “No, no, we’ll give you five more years,” when the Russians are in fact behaving very inconsistently with it. It showed weakness.
I think Vladimir Putin has shown that. He talked a couple of days ago about how the Ukrainian people and the Russian people are one in the same. That is a bad omen if you’re a Ukrainian, because you’ll recall that the last time President Biden was in power, he was the vice president, the Russians took one-fifth of that country.
The Russians, if you give them an inch, they’ll take a mile. And this administration has shown, to date at least, that they’re prepared to give that first inch and impose almost no cost on the Russian leadership. We see it in cyber. We see it in the military space. We see it in diplomacy as well.
I hope that they will begin to confront the Russians in a way that makes some sense for America. There’s places we can work together. When I was the CIA director, I worked closely with the Russian intelligence service on counterterror. That’s fine. In the end, we have to make sure that what happens in Moscow doesn’t leave Moscow and impact us all across the world.
Del Guidice: Before we wrap up, I want to get your advice for young people especially. We see right now what’s happening in Cuba with the communist regime there. So many students today on college campuses, even in high schools, are taught about communism and people, a lot of young people, see it as this wonderful alternative. Meanwhile, we’re seeing what’s going on on the ground right there with people who can’t access health care and can’t access food even.
What is your advice to young people, especially who have these ideas being talked about and are trying to figure out which path to take and what to believe?
Pompeo: Read, study, and keep your faith. And then go find someone … who’s fled communism, go find a former Hong-konger, go find someone who fled Communist China, go find someone who fled Cuba, someone who actually lived in that place and just listen to them. …
I had a chance to meet, for example, some of the family members of the Uighur who are being held in Western China. I was in Kazakhstan and I had a chance to meet some of those family members. You cannot hear those stories without understanding the terror and horrors that communism forces on every person that it has under its authoritarian jackboot.
That would be my urging for them. Don’t buy the story. Believe what you see with your own eyes. Capitalism works. Free markets work. Civic institutions in our republic will stand when we have free and fair elections. Don’t buy the storyline that you can get equality of outcome if you just manipulate the system with big government, because you might get that equality of outcome, everyone will be equally diminished and equally poor.
Del Guidice: Secretary Pompeo, it’s a sobering but really good note to end on. Thank you so much for joining us again on The Daily Signal.
Pompeo: Thank you for having me on today. Bless you.
Del Guidice: Thank you.
Pompeo: So long.
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