Central Intelligence Agency Director and fellow Kansan Mike Pompeo is the man our country needs to lead the State Department as the next secretary of state. Unfortunately, many of my colleagues across the aisle are making Pompeo’s nomination about politics, instead of his fitness to serve our country as the nation’s top diplomat.
This is more about preventing President Donald Trump’s nominees from being confirmed, not about Pompeo himself.
Last January, the United States Senate confirmed Pompeo as director of the CIA with a 66-32 vote, which included 14 Democrats supporting his appointment. Many of the senators who voted in favor of Pompeo becoming CIA director last year now are coming up with absurd reasons why he is unfit to be secretary of state.
This political game of blocking appointments is dangerous. In the past, secretary of state nominees have received bipartisan support during their confirmation hearings. It is time for us to work together, across party lines, to confirm the man who is uniquely qualified to be the next secretary of state.
Pompeo is already a statesman who listens to others, works well with people and can negotiate in an effective manner. He is honest and hardworking. His professional experience includes building a successful business in Wichita and serving in the U.S. House of Representatives. As a freshman member of Congress from the Fourth District, Pompeo served on the House Intelligence Committee during a time when its intelligence-gathering methods were under fire.
Pompeo’s impressive resume also includes graduating first in his class from West Point and serving as a U.S. Calvary officer in West Germany before the Berlin Wall fell. His military and intelligence background will serve him well in leading the State Department.
He will work hard to earn the trust of those at the State Department and around the world. He will build bridges, rely on the expertise of others, and will debate and discuss in a respectful manner.
Earlier this month, Pompeo showed his bold leadership and diplomatic skills when he met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to discuss a future meeting between Kim and Trump. Days later, after Kim also met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, the North Koreans announced they were suspending their nuclear weapons testing program. This may be just another whim of a reckless dictator, or it might just work.
One thing I know for sure is that of all the folks involved, I trust Kansan Mike Pompeo. My colleagues voting against his confirmation can’t explain why they have lost faith in him.
Pat Roberts is a U.S. senator representing Kansas.