‘They’re stealing our stuff:’ Mike Pompeo talks all things, but mostly China

Pompeo visited Wichita State to discuss politics and possible presidential run, as well as his new book “Never Give an Inch.”


Mia Hennen

Mike Pompeo, former secretary of state and CIA director, talks to reporters before an event about his new book “Never Give an Inch” on Feb. 10.

Mike Pompeo, former secretary of state and CIA director, made it clear Friday that running for president is absolutely on the table, but he started his visit at Wichita State by telling a room of reporters that the “mission” there was not about politics or campaigning.

Still, conversation led to talks of Pompeo’s potential bid for president in 2024 as well as politically divided subjects, such as foreign policy, election fraud and more. 

“We’re still thinking about running ourselves,” Pompeo said. “I was in the Oval Office. I know what these bureaucracies do to undermine conservative leaders. It is real and it is serious.”

Pompeo said he and his wife will decide by “late spring” or “early summer” whether or not to run. 

Pompeo sat down with Elizabeth King, president and CEO of the WSU Foundation and Alumni Engagement, to talk about his new book “Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love.” 

Pompeo’s book focuses on various issues relating to his four years under former President Donald Trump.

“I wanted to tell the story of how (conservatives) thought about America, and the American people and putting them first,” Pompeo said. “And I wanted to lay the historical record out as cleanly as I could.”

Pompeo on China

Pompeo, especially during his time as secretary of state, has been one of the most vocal politicians on China. 

Right on the heels of the Chinese spy balloon incident, Pompeo spent a chunk of his time at Wichita State discussing China and the threat its government presents to the American people.

“They’re stealing our stuff.”

Pompeo called out TikTok, a social media app owned by a Chinese company, and the dangers he believes it poses.

Elizabeth King, president and CEO of the WSU Foundation and Alumni Engagement, speaks to Mike Pompeo, former secretary of state and CIA director, about his new book “Never Give an Inch” at Wichita State on Feb. 10. (Mia Hennen)

“They are spreading the Chinese message about America as the danger in the world,” Pompeo said. “In China and Marxism and Leninism as the central important thing that will lift people out of poverty … I can prove this though. They don’t allow TikTok to be used by children inside of China.”

Despite his claim that children aren’t allowed on the app, children in China are allowed on the app, but children under 14 in the country are capped at 40 minutes a day.

Background on Pompeo

Before serving under Trump, Pompeo served in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Kansas’ fourth district, which includes Wichita. And prior to that, Pompeo co-founded and ran a few different companies, one of them being Sentry International, an oil drilling manufacturer, with ties to Koch Industries. 

Pompeo’s ties with the Koch Brothers are no secret. Koch has tossed more money at Pompeo than any other candidate, according to Open Secrets. In 2018, Pompeo had racked up $400,500 from Koch alone. 

When asked, Pompeo declined to talk about meeting with Charles Koch or any other donors while in Wichita.

“I have lots of meetings that I’ll do, but I’m not going to talk about the private meetings that I’m going to have,” Pompeo said.