Editorials

Mike Pompeo, either quit and run for U.S. Senate in Kansas or focus on your day job

If Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is running to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, Republican of Kansas, then he should quit his rather important day job and do that.

Or if, as he told The Star and The Wichita Eagle in a testy, credulity-straining interview on Thursday, he isn’t even thinking about it, then he should by all means focus on U.S. diplomacy — remember diplomacy? — and stop hanging out here every chance he gets.

If it’s the first, Mr. Secretary, then you are also going to have to drop the put-upon posture and answer the many valid questions that a Senate run would require with less attitude and more truthfulness.

In case you’ve forgotten what a straightforward statement sounds like, here’s one: It’s an unnecessary imposition to ask anyone to believe you were in Wichita on Thursday because Ivanka Trump “told me, gosh, probably four or five months ago that she was coming out here for an event at Wichita State. Some really remarkable work that was being done at Wichita State to train the 21st-century workforce along with private sector companies, the biggest Spirit and Textron, some of the smaller companies too. And I reminded her that’s my hometown, I’d love to come out and be part of that. Because that workforce development matters to my mission too.”

With the Kurds betrayed, ethnic cleansing made possible, Russia rewarded along with Iran and even ISIS, foreign service agents beside themselves, and a shadow foreign policy team on Ukraine apparently headed by Rudy Giuliani, well no wonder you’d rather be in Wichita with Ivanka Trump, cheering on “the great work this administration is doing to ensure that our workforce is prepared to compete all around the world.”

But again, if you’re not running, you have better things to do.

And if you are, what’s to be gained from complaining that you’ve already been asked “103 or 104” times whether the House impeachment inquiry has changed your thinking on the race? Until you stop what looks a lot like hedging your bets, there will also be a 105th and 106th time.

Telling a reporter asking a legitimate question about how our standing with other allies has been damaged by our treatment of the Kurds, “The whole predicate of your question is insane” is no doubt satisfying, so if you don’t want other questions not to your liking, don’t run.

Saying things like this does make you sound more like a candidate than someone who was really here to honor workforce development and attend your son’s bestie’s wedding: “Our task at the State Department is to use all our skill … to make sure that American markets are open for Kansas products all around the world. That’s what I’m focused on.” Or if you’re not a candidate, then you sound like an awfully parochial secretary of state.

Though the former feels more likely, you should know that Kansans are interested in the world beyond the Great Plains. And would frown on even a fellow Kansan using his government office to fund what looks increasingly like campaign travel.

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