Pompeo unveils PAC, demurs on possible 2024 presidential bid


COLUMBIA, S.C. — Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has become the latest former Trump administration official to launch a political action committee, but he’s not disclosing any possible 2024 presidential plans.

“Only the lord knows where I will be in 2023,” Pompeo said Thursday in an interview with The Associated Press, when asked about future electoral ambitions, including a run for the White House, and whether a potential run by his old boss, former President Donald Trump, would sway any plans.

He added: “But make no mistake about it: This fight for these things that I care so deeply about … that we have worked on and done our best to serve, to deliver, is something that we’re just not going to walk away from.”

Pompeo spoke with AP two days after formally launching a political action committee he said he would use to boost conservative candidates across the country in 2022 races at the state and federal levels.

It’s a move several other former Trump administration officials have made as Republicans grapple with their party’s future following Trump’s term. Trump himself has complicated those conversations, implying he could seek a second term and recently setting out a return to the large-scale rallies that became signature events of his 2016 run and years in office.

Pompeo, who also served as CIA director during four years in the Trump administration, has been making the rounds in some of the states with early voting contests, including Iowa and New Hampshire, fueling speculation he will seek the Republican presidential nomination. On Thursday, he said he plans to campaign in South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, who is seeking his second full term in office next year.

Other former Trump administration figures mentioned as potential GOP hopefuls are already making their rounds in the state, including Nikki Haley, who cut short her second term as South Carolina governor to serve as Trump’s U.N. ambassador. In April, during a visit to a historically Black university in her native South Carolina, Haley said that she would not seek her party’s nomination if Trump opted to run a second time.

Two weeks later, choosing South Carolina as the site of his first public speech since leaving office, former Vice President Mike Pence put down a marker for a potential return to elected office, telling an audience in the early-voting that he will use the coming months “pushing back on the liberal agenda” he says is wrong for the country.

Pompeo, one of Trump’s most loyal Cabinet members, said he has been in recent communication with the former president, with whom he worked “side-by-side for four years” on policies that “people really, really appreciated,” and on which he hoped his political action committee would build.

“The ideology comes from my central belief that the people of America care most about what happens closest to them,” Pompeo said. “They’ll know what’s right for their county and their city and their state, and we want to go help them deliver those conservative outcomes.”

Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP.

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