Pompeo argues that Trump wasn’t a ‘true conservative leader’

Republican presidential hopefuls are inching closer to declaring their entry into the race for the party’s 2024 nomination and one of those dipping his toe into the water is former CIA director and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who could be on the verge of declaring his candidacy and is seeking to distinguish himself from the frontrunner.

On Sunday, Pompeo followed up his speech at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) where he took a few thinly-veiled swipes at former President Donald J. Trump by jabbing him again during an interview with “Fox News Sunday” anchor Shannon Bream.

(Video: Fox News)

After first discussing foreign policy developments regarding China, Russia and Ukraine, an area where the Trump administration was able to leverage America’s strength and reputation to avoid the wars and rumors of wars that have marked the dismal tenure of President Joe Biden, the topic turned to the home front, specifically the national debt which Pompeo suggested that any conservative leader would do a better job at handling the national debt and deficit than his former boss.

“Would a President Pompeo do a better job at managing the deficit and debt than a President Trump did?” Bream asked her guest.

Pompeo responded, “I think a President Pompeo or any conservative president will do better than not only we did during the four years of the Trump administration, Barack Obama, George Bush, the list is long Shannon, of folks who come to Washington on one theory and don’t, aren’t prepared to stand up and explain to the American people how we’re actually going to get that right.”

“It matters to the next generation,” he continued. “The system is at risk. If we don’t get it right, we are $31 trillion in the hole, we’ve got to begin to grow the economy, build it back with lower taxes, and when we do that and grow our economy, we’ll get it back right, it’s gonna take a true conservative leader Shannon.”

Bream then asked, “Are you saying President Trump wasn’t a true conservative leader?”

“Six trillion more in debt. That’s never the right direction for the country, Shannon,” Pompeo replied.

Later in the segment, after more discussion of foreign policy issues, Pompeo was put on the spot over his CPAC remarks that were interpreted by many on social media as being a shot at Trump as Bream rolled a video clip of him saying, “We can’t become the left. Following celebrity leaders with their own brand of identity politics, those with fragile egos who refuse to acknowledge reality,” also citing a Washington Post article about it being “obvious” that he was talking about the nation’s 45th president.

“So celebrity leaders with fragile egos, who were you talking about?” Bream asked.

“Oh Shannon, I was talking to the American people,” Pompeo chuckled. “I was talking to the American people about the seriousness of the moment that we find ourselves in.”

“We’ve been focused on foreign policy today but Shannon, you and I have talked about the problems in our schools, we’ve talked about crime in the streets, we spoke for a moment about our southern border,” he continued. “I was talking about the time to elect serious leaders who are thoughtful, who speak about America as the most exceptional nation in the history of civilization, they’re not denigrating it, they’re not throwing out whoppers, they’re not spending all their time thinking about Twitter, that’s what I was speaking to.”

“The moment for celebrity, the moment for stars is not with us, it’s the moment for America to go back to its conservative founding, its conservative ideas and I am very confident that room, that room cheered that idea and I am very confident that we’re heading back in that direction,” he said.

Despite Bream’s efforts to get him to say whether he intended to jump into the political arena to do battle with Trump, Pompeo insisted that he wasn’t “dodging” her question while ducking giving a definitive answer, only saying that he would make the call in the “next couple months.”

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