WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - A Kansan now has control of American foreign policy. Mike Pompeo’s ceremonial swearing-in ceremony took place Wednesday morning making him the 70th Secretary of State. It marked the first time President Donald Trump made a trip to the State Department. A long-time friend of Pompeo says this is a defining moment for the state of Kansas.
Nestor Weigand, a long-time friend of Mike Pompeo's, says his humility helped his "meteoric rise".
“How many people do you know in your entire life that have had this kind of meteoric rise?” said Weigand.
In that decade, Pompeo served three terms representing the Kansas Fourth Congressional District, became Director of the CIA and now serves as the nation’s top diplomat. Weigand says some might be skeptical of such a fast progression. But, he says his friend’s secret is his ability to maintain Kansas values.
“He does have midwest values. And although they probably aren’t appreciated as much on both coasts, he’s one of us,” said Weigand.
A host of challenges face this administration on the international stage, but they maintain they’ve got the right man in place to confront them.
“He’s got a deep background of experience, but really what’s more important is that he and the president are in sync on foreign policy,” said Raj Shah, Principal Deputy Press Secretary at the White House.
Shah says Pompeo has jumped into the deep end of diplomacy. He says Pompeo’s recent negotiations with North Korea and his trip to the Middle East show readiness for the job. It remains to be seen what tangible results come from either trip.
“The world is calling for American leadership in a lot of parts throughout the world and Director Pompeo, now Secretary Pompeo, is meeting the challenge,” said Shah.
Now officially in his State Department office, Pompeo pledged to meet with staff and to quote “get the department’s swagger back”. As Pompeo takes his post, he is expected to work closely with the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The Committee narrowly approved Pompeo’s nomination to become Secretary. Only Republicans voted favorably.