Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has made four trips this year to the state where he embarked on his political career, raising questions over whether he could launch a bid for its Senate seat. Now, the editorial board of metro Kansas City’s largest newspaper is telling him to pick a lane.
In an opinion article published Friday, Kansas City Star staff said Pompeo “should by all means focus on U.S. diplomacy” if he’s genuinely uninterested in pursuing a campaign, “and stop hanging out here every chance he gets.”
Pompeo, a former Kansas congressman, made his latest visit to the state on Thursday, traveling to Wichita with Ivanka Trump. While there, they toured WSU Tech and met with its students for a roundtable talk. Meanwhile in Washington, House Democrats are moving full steam ahead with an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, and in Syria, American-allied Kurdish forces fighting ISIS are suffering the fallout of the sudden departure of U.S. troops.
When Pompeo sat down with the Star and The Wichita Eagle the day of his trip, an Eagle reporter wondered whether he was using his time wisely. The secretary of state said he was “absolutely” sure of it.
Though he has repeatedly popped up in the state, Pompeo has said that he does not plan to run for Senate, telling the Eagle there has been “no change” in his position.
Offering up another idea as to why Pompeo took off to Kansas yet again, the Star’s editorial board recited a list of his ongoing challenges at home and abroad.
“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 [Trump attorney] 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,’” the board wrote, quoting from his recent interview.
In case Pompeo is seeking a Senate run, the board advised him 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.”
In July, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) urged Pompeo to consider running for retiring Republican Sen. Pat Roberts’ seat, telling reporters that it was still “the early stages” because the filing deadline isn’t until June of next year.
However, later that month, Pompeo told the Economic Club of Washington that the option was “off the table.”
CLARIFICATION: A previous version of this story suggested the Star was based in Kansas, even though it is based in Kansas City, Missouri. However, it serves the Kansas City metro area, which includes portions of Kansas.