Mike Pompeo Knows What Time It Is
Mike Pompeo will not be running for president in 2024. Others are not so canny.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had an announcement on Friday—not that anyone was paying attention. Pompeo will not be running for the Republican nomination for president in 2024—not that anyone was going to vote for him.
“This isn’t our moment,” Pompeo told Fox News’s Bret Baier in an interview Friday, referring to himself and his wife Susan Pompeo. “This isn’t the time for us to seek elected office.” That much Pompeo gets right.
The former secretary of State released a longer statement through his political action committee called Champion American Values. “Susan and I have concluded, after much consideration and prayer, that I will not present myself as a candidate to become President of the United States in the 2024 election,” Pompeo’s statement read.
“It is simplest, and most accurate, to say that this decision is personal. The time is not right for me and my family,” Pompeo wrote. “At each stage of my public service—as a soldier, as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and then as Director the Central Intelligence Agency and as your Secretary of State—I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to advance America in a way that fit the time and the moment. This is not that time or that moment for me to seek elected office again.”
“I can’t tell you how heartwarming and humbling it has been when strangers have told me they pray that I run to defend our nation’s Judeo-Christian heritage, our families and our country as the most exceptional in the history of civilization,” he continued. “I’ve also heard those who’ve told me ‘you’d be crazy to run.’” Apparently, he’s come around to agree with those folks: “For now, Susan and I have concluded that we can best serve in roles we’ve been in before—as parents, Sunday school teachers, community leaders, and business leaders.”
Pompeo, for his foibles and flaws—he once claimed "there is no more important task of the Secretary of State than standing for Israel"—at least seems to acknowledge that the GOP nomination for 2024 is a two-horse race. Nice of him to come to that realization on his own, rather than the Republican base having to do it for him. But Republican voters will have to do so for others.
Asa Hutchinson, the former governor of Arkansas who has since been succeeded by former Trump White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, has announced he’ll throw his hat in the ring for the 2024 nomination.
“While the formal announcement will be later in April, in Bentonville [Arkansas], I want to make it clear to you...I am going to be running,” Hutchinson told ABC News in early April. “And the reason is, I’ve traveled the country for six months, I hear people talk about the leadership of our country. I’m convinced that people want leaders that appeal to the best of America, and not simply appeal to our worst instincts.”
Hutchinson’s media announcement of his bid came on the heels of the Trump indictment in New York. Apparently, Hutchinson believed the Trump indictment would have opened the field. Of course, Trump has skyrocketed in the polls since the charges against him came down. If that’s the level of Hutchinson’s political instincts, he doesn’t have a prayer. The polls and voters will inform him of that soon enough.
The same can be said for former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. But there’s another South Carolinian that could be mulling a presidential run: South Carolina Senator Tim Scott.
Scott recently converted his Senate campaign fund, which had nearly $22 million on hand at the end of March, to a presidential exploratory committee. Scott has publicly acknowledged he’s considering a bid for the White House. By moving his Senate campaign fund to an exploratory committee with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Scott can now use his war-chest to conduct polls, hire consultants, travel, among other things to find out how the South Carolina senator stacks up against the field—most notably former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
He can’t officially campaign until he declares and files with the FEC, but Scott can continue fundraising while he explores his viability. And fundraising is something Scott excels at. The reason his exploratory committee has almost $22 million, about $8 million more than Trump’s $14 million cash-on-hand at the end of March, is because the South Carolina senator was able to raise $43 million for his Senate campaign in 2022, which was not particularly competitive.
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During his Senate campaign, he promised voters that, if re-elected to a third term, it would be his final term in the Senate. Scott has reportedly already informed the FEC he will not be pursuing reelection in 2028. Whether this is a principled stand for limiting terms or if it's a promise made in line with pre-existing political ambitions is unclear.
It’s an interesting season for the upcoming presidential cycle. The field is consolidating as more prominent Republican politicians know they ought not run into the Trump buzzsaw that dispatched of more than a dozen challengers in 2016 or the popularity of DeSantis, which he’s earned fighting ridiculous Covid-19 measures, transgenderism and critical race theory, and woke capital. Yet, potential for expansion remains as candidates seek the attention of the clear leaders in hopes of becoming their vice presidential picks.
Give credit where credit is due. Mike Pompeo knows what time it is: not his.