Secretary of state’s campus visit requires meticulous planning


Selena Favela

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo laughs Thursday during a tour of Textron Aviation East. He and Ivanka Trump visited the site as part of their trip to Wichita on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Ivanka Trump, first daughter and senior advisor to the president, landed in Wichita Wednesday evening ahead of two days of tours and meetings in Pompeo’s former congressional district.

The two officials toured the WSU Tech National Center for Aviation Training facility and Textron Aviation East Thursday morning. Pompeo will be on Wichita State’s campus Friday, but details of his visit have not been released to the public.

The visit comes amidst impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump and renewed speculation that Pompeo may abandon his post as secretary of state to run for the 2020 Senate seat vacated by longtime Republican Sen. Pat Roberts

Kara Johnson, executive assistant to the president and CEO of the WSU Foundation, said Pompeo will take part in several events hosted by Interim University President Andy Tompkins and Foundation President Elizabeth King.

Johnson said the visit has taken extensive coordination with Pompeo’s secretarial staff.

“The conversations that we have, they ask for a building location, so, ‘Where is this building on campus? How far is it? Can you walk to the building? Can you drive to the building? How long does it take to drive to the building? How long does it take to walk to the building?’” Johnson said.

She said in one instance, the secretary will be moving from one building to another in the same parking lot. 

“Even though they’re in the same parking lot, regardless, they still want to know how long that would take approximately to drive and how long that would take approximately to just walk as well,” Johnson said. “They are really thorough with every single option or detail.”

Johnson said the Secret Service’s coordination with police was “probably the most detailed piece” of preparation.

“They came out before I met with any of his staff to look at every entry, exit of the building, so they really get a good scope as to the best entry for the secretary of state and then keeping the timeline of where to exit, when to exit, where to drop off and pick up,” Johnson said.

She said WSU has incurred no expenses from the intense pre-visit preparation.

“They’ve been meeting with us during hours, so there’s no additional expense,” Johnson said.

She said that from the foundation’s perspective, this is a “unique opportunity.”

“We are very lucky to have them want to be able to share their time with us,” Johnson said.

“Both Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Susan Pompeo, Wichita is a place they call home — Wichita State University,” she said. “They are both proud Shockers.”

Pompeo’s wife is a WSU alumna and former homecoming queen.