Pompeo Not Running for Senate, National Security Adviser Says

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo won’t run for a U.S. Senate seat in 2020, White House National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said over the weekend.

O’Brien has been floated as a possible replacement if Pompeo steps down to run for the Kansas seat.

Asked if he’s interested in the position during an appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” O’Brien said: “Mike Pompeo is a fantastic secretary of state. He was one of the president’s best picks for the cabinet. He’s a friend of mine. I enjoy working for him. I hope he doesn’t leave.”

“I love the job I’ve got now. I get to work with the president every day and I’m very happy with sitting where I am. And I hope and expect that Secretary Pompeo will stay,” he added.

“I spoke with him about this two nights ago. He said he’s not running for Senate. He said he’s staying in as secretary of state. This is one American who’s very pleased that the president picked Mike and that Mike is committed to staying.”

National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien (L) and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross arrive for the bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Nonthaburi, Thailand, on Nov. 4, 2019. (Aijaz Rahi/AP Photo)

The State Department didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

Pompeo, 56, was a member of the House of Representatives before becoming the Trump administration’s CIA director from January 2017 to April 2018, when he transitioned to being secretary of state.

Before serving in Congress, Pompeo founded Thayer Aerospace and was the company’s CEO for over 10 years before becoming president of Sentry International, an oilfield equipment company. Pompeo was a cavalry officer in the U.S. military after graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1986. After leaving active duty he graduated from Harvard Law School.

Pompeo said over the summer that a run for the Senate seat was “off the table.” The State Department said this week that a story claiming he was resigning soon was “completely false.”

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) points to supporters during a campaign stop in Leavenworth
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) in a file photograph. (Orlin Wagner/AP Photo)

Republicans hold both Senate seats in Kansas and have held them since 1932 but there will be an open race for the seat up for grabs in 2020 because Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) is retiring.

Among the current candidates is Kris Kobach, a Republican who lost a gubernatorial attempt in 2018.

Both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and President Donald Trump have said Pompeo should run.

“If I thought they had somebody out there that couldn’t win—and Mike would, really, he loves what he’s doing. … 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 said in November.

“If he thought that 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.”

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber


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