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Pompeo’s the first potential presidential candidate to visit Iowa after 2020

URBANDALE — Mike Pompeo is the first potential 2024 presidential candidate to start testing his message in person with audiences in Iowa.

The former secretary of state spoke to a crowd of about 200 Iowa Republicans Friday.  “I see a lot of cameras in the back. They think there’s going to be some big announcement,” Pompeo said and the crowd laughed. “You know, we’re in Iowa and all, right? First-in-the-nation Primary. That’s the right thing.”

There’s no firm date yet for the 2024 Iowa Caucuses, but the Iowa GOP’s chairman has repeatedly there’s no pushback from national Republican Party leaders about keeping the Iowa Caucuses as the lead-off event in the presidential nominating process.

Pompeo was pressed by a man in the crowd to address the last presidential election and whether President Donald Trump should have left the White House.

“I did believe firmly that the president had a responsibility and an obligation that he lived up to fight this as far as he could and as hard as he could in every single material way and he did that,” Pompeo said. “He did his best to litigate.”

Before almost 50 minutes of answering questions from the crowd, Pompeo delivered brief introductory remarks, emphasizing his service in the Trump cabinet and sketched out his own electoral history as a Kansas congressman and even his race for a seat on the board of his homeowners’ association.

“I know that the work that people do all across rural parts of America and places like we are here today matters an awful lot to the very things that matter to me and to my faith and to my family and I wanted to make sure that you all know that we’re going to win,” Pompeo said, to applause. “In the end, there is not a doubt in my mind that our ideas are right, our values are correct.”

Pompeo, who is 57, is an Army veteran and Harvard Law School graduate who left congress in 2017 to served as CIA director, then as Secretary of State.

“I would get asked: ‘What keeps you up at night? What’s the greatest threat to the United States of America?’” Pompeo said. “And I always would answer that, even when I was secretary of state, I would say: ‘The greatest threats are, of course, that we get it wrong here at home.’”

Pompeo criticized the Biden Administration for what he described as its “willy-nilly” approach to security at the country’s southern border. And Pompeo said the Trump Administration’s “America First” foreign policy was “a fundamentally different approach” that worked with Mexico, North Korea and Iran.

Pompeo’s speech to the Westside Conservative Club in Urbandale was his only public event during his two-day trip here. He also hosted a private fundraiser for Congresswoman Ashley Hinson of Marion today.

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