One-on-one with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: Trade with China, the ISIS bride, and Otto Warmbier's death

Published: Mar. 3, 2019 at 9:59 AM CST
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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is heading to Iowa this week following President Donald Trump's latest summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Pompeo is turning his focus stateside to discuss the current state of U.S. Agriculture. Many farmers have been hurting for months as a result of trade disputes with a crucial partner in China. Pompeo says part of his mission in Iowa will be to ease concerns as negotiations continue between the U.S. and the Chinese.

“We’ve got to get through this. I’m very confident we’ll get a trade agreement together. And when we do, it’ll turn the lights on,” said Pompeo.

Part of Pompeo’s mission in Iowa is to discuss employment in the State Department. Pompeo says he wants his office to look more like America, rather than filling all positions with folks from the east coast, which he says is largely the case at this point. He says he wants folks from all over the country to play more of a role in his diplomatic operations.

“I want a diverse workforce at the State Department so I want to make sure that the tremendous opportunity, the incredible privilege of representing America as a diplomat working at the Department of State is something that people in the Heartland know about as well,” said Pompeo.

While Pompeo is in Iowa, his legal team will be meeting in District Court in Washington with the legal team of the family of Hoda Muthana, the 24-year old who left Birmingham, Alabama years ago to join ISIS. Muthana recently fled from the terror group and is hoping to return to the U.S. Pompeo says Muthana has no place on U.S. soil after making a commitment to support the killing of Americans.

“this woman who worked so hard to put American lives at risk – U.S. Soldiers, U.S. service members, frankly civilians as well, by becoming a terrorist, is not coming back to the United States of America,” said Pompeo.

Alabama Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) have said they would like to see her return to the U.S. so she can face the American legal system. Pompeo says while the U.S. is prepared to prosecute terrorists like Muthana, it makes no sense to bring her back.

“She has no right to come back to the United States of America, she’s not a U.S. Citizen. She has no claim for U.S. citizenship. That’s what we’ll be telling the court because that’s the truth,” said Pompeo.

Secretary Pompeo only had a few hours to rest before heading to Iowa after the second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that took place in Hanoi, Vietnam. The talks fell apart as the two sides failed to come to an agreement over sanctions relief.

In Hanoi, President Trump made a controversial statement that he believed Kim Jong Un’s claims that he did not know what happened to American college student Otto Warmbier while he was in North Korean custody from 2015 to 2017. Warmbier was released with a serious brain injury and soon after died at the age of 22.

Secretary Pompeo says he knows the North Korean regime is responsible.

“We take very seriously the North Korea human rights allegations and we know exactly who’s responsible for the death of Otto Warmbier. The North Korean regime is responsible for the death of Otto Warmbier. There’s no doubt about that,” said Pompeo.

Pompeo would not say Kim Jong Un’s name when pressed if he thinks the North Korean leader had knowledge of the incident.

President Trump took to Twitter after the summit, saying “I never like being misinterpreted, but especially when it comes to Otto Warmbier and his great family. Remember, I got Otto out along with three others. The previous Administration did nothing, and he was taken on their with. Of course I hold North Korea responsible for Otto’s mistreatment and death. Most important, Otto Warmbier will not have died in vain. Otto and his family have become a tremendous symbol of strong passion and strength, which will last for many years into the future. I love Otto and think of him often!”

Secretary Pompeo is also planning on making a trip to Kansas in March, the state he served in the House of Representatives from 2011 through 2016.