Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is being personally courted by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to run for an open Senate seat in Kansas, according to a new report.
Pompeo’s potential run would be a blow to the White House and the Cabinet as he has presided over important changes in foreign policy, including renewed relations with North Korea and the breakup of the Obama-era nuclear accord with Iran, and is seen as a supporter of President Trump’s vision of foreign affairs.
McConnell spoke with Pompeo in a recent telephone call, urging him to seriously consider running for the Senate seat that opened after Sen. Pat Roberts announced his retirement earlier this month, The Washington Post reported. Senate GOP leaders reportedly reached out to the secretary of state within the hours of Roberts’ announcement.
Pompeo, who previously served in Congress and later the CIA director under Trump before moving to his current job, hasn’t ruled out running for an elected position again, though his office issued a laconic statement affirming his current role.
“Secretary Pompeo is focused on serving the President and keeping Americans safe as the Secretary of State,” Pompeo spokesman Robert Palladino told the Post.
But Republicans, while skeptical Pompeo will make the untraditional move and go to the Senate after serving in one of the top positions within the Cabinet, believe it’s an idea worth pursuing.
One person familiar with the discussions told the Post that Pompeo could keep the Senate option open to “parachute out if things get bad” for the administration.
It’s unclear what controversy would be the red line for Pompeo, but Democrats – now in control of the House – have pledged to take a combative attitude toward the administration and liberally use their subpoena power.
In addition, Special Counsel Robert Mueller is working on completing his investigation into allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
If Pompeo decides to run, he’ll likely face little to no opposition and would cruise to victory. Republicans have dominated in Kansas, with Democrats not winning a Senate seat there since 1932.