On June 15, former Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced the formation of a new organization called CAVPAC to, as the release states, “protect American values and to help Republicans take back majorities in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate as well as governorships and control of state legislatures all across America.”
On behalf of The Epoch Times, I spoke with Pompeo on the phone at some length about the PAC and his views on the current situation.
There’s a lot here to chew on, including the emphasis he’s putting in his new PAC on reforming our leftward-tilting educational system. (Remember that he graduated No. 1 in his class from West Point.)
Worth noting, too, is the extreme difference between the policies of the current administration and the one in which he played such a key role for Donald Trump.
As an example, when I asked Pompeo, “Would you have given Israel more time to deal with Hamas during this recent conflict?” He responded: “We would have told Israel, ‘Do what you need to do,’ but it wouldn’t be about us giving them time. We would have said, ‘You have the duty and responsibility to defend your own nation. Do that.’”
Also, when asked about President Joe Biden’s naming “white supremacy” as the greatest security threat to our country, Pompeo called it “unhinged from reality.” (He put the Chinese Communist Party at the top of the list.)
The following is a transcript of the conversation in its entirety with only slight emendations for clarity:
Roger Simon: Mr. Secretary, let’s begin with your new PAC. You named it CAVPAC in honor of the cavalry, I imagined, coming to rescue America … and it needs it. The PAC’s filled with the best intentions—championing American values and so forth. But let me ask you a difficult question. Our schools are teaching our kids critical race theory from kindergarten. Our colleges have turned into Marxist indoctrination camps with entertainment and the mainstream media doing much the same, all of this going on for some time. Is it already too late? What can CAVPAC do to turn this around?
Secretary Pompeo: No, it’s not remotely too late. The cavalry from my young days when I was a young officer sounded the alarm. I think we were a little late in getting that done, but I’m happy now to be out working on that project. It’s not too late. This republic is strong. Your point’s well taken, and I’ve been asked this before. But I worked on problems all around the world for the past four years, China foremost amongst them. There’s no greater threat to the United States than the challenges within the Marxist socialist ideology of the progressive left.
You talked about the theories that are being foisted upon kids as young as kindergarten, saying that our American founding was racist. Those are the challenges of our times. We can get it back. Americans know how to do this. And it will be in those places—our schools, churches, our faith-based institutions. Those will be the places that the republic will get its foothold again. And we need to make sure that we have leaders at every level working to do just that.
That’s why I’m going to be out traveling. I’ve already done it for two months—traveling the country, talking about this very value set, and then finding people who are prepared to stand up. Whether that’s at a board of trustees meeting for the board of regents in your state or at the PTA meeting or your city council, those are the places where we get to reject ideology and put America back on its founding ideas that have made this the most exceptional nation in history. I am confident that the decline is a choice and that Americans are going to choose not to allow that to happen.
Simon: Well, that’s optimistic, and I hope you’re right. But there’s a Catch-22 in this for some readers of The Epoch Times—right, center-right, libertarians—in other words, people who might well be your constituents. You were head of both the State Department and the CIA, both of which, among other government institutions, today are not too popular with this very group. In fact, it was reported last night by Tucker Carlson and also by Revolver Media, I believe, that the FBI—therefore, the Department of Justice—was heavily involved with instigating, in various ways, the Jan. 6 events. Would CAVPAC fight against this, as you were once a leader of those institutions?
Pompeo: Well, of course, it’s totally inappropriate for the Department of Justice to have done that, if that’s in fact what took place. I fought back against the bureaucracy inside the State Department. It causes enormous problems when you have unelected officials who have their own view of the world and work to undermine an administration and president that was duly elected [in the] constitutional way. I actually am proud of the work that the State Department did under my leadership because we prevented much of the malfeasance that had taken place there. And it’s a big organization.
There’s always going to be bad actors, but we made clear our expectations that everyone would do the right thing. I’ve seen this, I’ve seen some of the FBI leadership. I didn’t run that organization. I’ve seen some of that. I’ve seen some of that leadership that appears to have lost its way. They should be held accountable for that. And it is absolutely the case to get back to good.
And every government employee [should] act in the way that is consistent with our constitutional obligations. And when there is a duly elected president of the United States, they should be the ones driving, whether that’s intelligence, collections, and operations at the CIA, or foreign policy and diplomatic policy at the State Department. There’s one commander in chief designated duly by Article Two of our Constitution, and I’m going to fight mercilessly to make sure that that happens.
Simon: Speaking of commanders in chief, you and Donald Trump seem to work extremely well [together], particularly on the Abraham Accords, which I want to get to in a second. He also has a PAC. How would you two be interfacing, since, at this point anyway, you seem to have nearly identical views on most issues? Are there areas of potential conflict?
Pompeo: Undoubtedly, we’ll be working on some of the same end-state goals. I’m confident that we will identify the same kinds of leaders, that those same leaders who are dedicated to the ideas of the work that we did those four years. So I’m sure there will be a cumulative [effect] in many respects.
But I want to be part of it, especially in the area of education that will be one of our major focuses. We will also focus on the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. We have to win those back because we’ve got to make sure that President Biden has as short a runway as possible. You need to only look at the press conferences to date in Geneva after the summit with Vladimir Putin, to know that that’s important.
But we’ve got to win school board races. We’ve got to win city council races. We see what is happening in our schools today. And this is something CAVPAC will be focused on in a way that I think others have not spent the time doing. This matters to Americans, ordinary families all across the country.
Simon: Well, we’re glad to hear about the school board focuses. We here in Nashville and Williamson County, we’ve got a bit of a civil war brewing between, essentially RINOS, in the case of Williamson County who are in charge of the school board, and the rank and file of all the citizens. There’s a new group they’re just formed called the “Mothers for Liberty.” Have you heard of that?
Pompeo: I haven’t heard of that group, but I think I have a good idea of what they’re working on because I see what is going on in places all across the country.
Simon: They’ve gone national and I commend them to you. I would like to move over to the Abraham Accords and the Middle East a little bit here. Do you feel that they’re in jeopardy at this point, and how would you relate this to the situation with Iran—and the Iran deal and Saudi Arabia appearing to be walking back and making deals with Iran?
Pompeo: American leadership permitted the space for the Abraham Accords to take place. And if America cozies up to the Iranians, as we did for eight years under Barack Obama, there is risk [to the] Abraham Accords. Having said that, I think these countries get it now. They get that their foreign policy that’s based on the elimination of Israel is not one that is going to be good for their people.
So whether it is the Bahrainis, the Sudanese, the Moroccans, frankly, even those countries that didn’t sign the Abraham Accords, but Gulf states like Saudi Arabia, I think they also know that that important partner in the region—the state of Israel—[is] somebody they want to be aligned with. When they’d have to choose between Israel and Iran, they will make that choice very simply. I’m confident of that, but your point is bigger than that in some ways.
What would enable this to happen? Good leadership from those countries, Prime Minister Netanyahu, the Emirates leadership in Bahrain. Those leaders were important. But America’s standing with them, America’s saying that we are going to support Israel as it defends itself from Iran, withdrawing from the JCPOA [Iran deal] and putting massive economic pressure on the Iranian regime. Those all created the space where those leaders could have the space to make the decision that they needed to recognize Israel’s right to exist.
When America turns from that, and the way that we have we’re going back to this failed JCPOA, those countries see that Iran has a pathway to a nuclear weapon. And it makes it much more difficult for them. And it puts Israeli and American lives at risk here.
Simon: Would you have given Israel more time to deal with Hamas, during this recent conflict?
Pompeo: We would have told Israel, ‘Do what you need to do,’ but it wouldn’t be about us giving them time. We would have said, ‘You have the duty and responsibility to defend your own nation. Do that.’
Simon: That about says it. On [June 15], the Biden administration unveiled a national security strategy that focuses on domestic terrorism as the greatest threat to the USA, principally, “those who promote the superiority of the white race”—not China, Russia, Iran, or foreign terror groups. In a June 1 speech, Biden also called again white supremacy “the most lethal threat to the Homeland today.” As a former secretary of state, would you care to comment on this new focus? Do you approve of it? And what do you think is behind this?
Pompeo: I think it is unhinged from reality. What’s behind it is politics of the progressive movement. We know the greatest threat to the homeland. I talked about it. That is the undermining of our civic institutions. It is undermining our founding, suggesting to the world that somehow our nation was fake, was founded on a racist ideology. And that there’s this systemic racism that continues to pervade our nation.
Those are the kinds of ideas that threaten our republic, our institutions. The national security strategy is aimed in every previous administration at identifying the adversaries from abroad that threatened us and the Chinese Communist Party needs to be at the top of the list. The Iranians should be right alongside that, though the CCP is the only institution that has the capacity to undermine and change our way of life in the next five, 10, and 20 years. But we need to be focused like a laser pushing back against it.
Simon: Speaking of the CCP, we read that that their jets have been incurring into Taiwanese space more than ever the other day. Do you think that that we are in great danger in the next three years during the Biden administration of the taking-over of Taiwan?
Pompeo: Taiwan is certainly the first and foremost objective of Xi Jinping, and he will use the term “reunification.” I would say “taking over a country that is a democracy.” He gets how important it is to his country. And he is seeing weakness from the United States of America. That is a dangerous combination.
What I hope this administration will do is to continue to build on what we did for years. We established clarity with the CCP itself. We said, here are the promises you’ve made. You need to live up to those promises. There will be costs imposed if you do not. And then second, we did everything we could to support the Taiwanese people, the Taiwanese democracy, and to provide them with weapon systems that increase in power so that the CCP would not think that this was an easy target.
And then finally, we built out a set of relationships with the Japanese, with the Australians, with the Indians, that made clear that there was a unified effort to reject any feint, any action toward Taiwan that put the people of Taiwan at risk.
Those are the kinds of things that established deterrence. I pray that this administration will do it today. We’ve not seen them prepared to take the kinds of strong action that will be necessary to continue that. I fear that Xi Jinping will see this as a green light. I hope I’m wrong about that.
Simon: Two more questions. On Hannity, you said Biden showed weakness by not being willing to stand next to Putin and field questions from the press corps. Now that you’ve seen the summit, or some of it, do you still feel the same way?
Pompeo: You know, I did. I watched both Putin and President Biden speak. It would have been fantastic had President Biden [been] prepared when President Putin was spouting propaganda, talking about the moral equivalency between our two countries, denying the cyberattacks, denying his malign activity, which violated basic norms that we all expect to be applied—basic human rights.
It would have been great if he could have—when that question was asked to Putin—responded by saying that’s just not true. And responded in a way that may well have been respectful, but, in real-time, responded to those things in a way that made clear that America wasn’t going to stand still while Russia—while the Russian president—foisted propaganda on the world. It’s an opportunity that was lost.
You know, Putin says he didn’t feel any pressure. When I heard President Biden speak, it didn’t sound like he applied any pressure. The Russians understand deeds, not words. They understand real action. They understand moral clarity. That’s what I think escaped President Biden in the summit. And he would have had the chance to communicate that to the world. And he missed that opportunity today.
Simon: And last question, also from Hannity: in March, he asked you if you would consider running for president; you said you’re “always up to a fight.” If you lost that one, would you consider a second go-round as secretary of state?
Pompeo: No, I haven’t thought much beyond 2022, to be honest with you. I haven’t even considered whether that’s something that’s in the realm of possibility. I must say there is still unfinished work. There’s still lots of important work to do for a conservative secretary of state. And anytime a president asks you to take on something like that, it’s something you have to weigh heavily—your duty to America. And I have always done that.
There’s no reason to think that I wouldn’t continue to weigh that in a serious way, but the fight that I’m in today is the one that I talked about with CAVPAC. We’re going to stay in that and then come January 2023, we’ll begin to look forward from there.
Simon: Okay. Thank you very much, sir.
Pompeo: Thank you very much. You have a wonderful day, sir.
Simon: You too.
Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Oscar-nominated screenwriter, co-founder of PJMedia, and now, editor-at-large for The Epoch Times. His most recent books are “The GOAT” (fiction) and “I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already” (nonfiction). He can be found on Parler as @rogerlsimon
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.