The two people spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk frankly about the matter.
McConnell had recruited Pompeo to run for Senate to guarantee the seat would stay in the hands of the Republican Party after the retirement of Sen. Pat Roberts.
Pompeo had regularly visited Kansas and was consulting with Ward Baker, a prominent GOP strategist close to McConnell. He had fueled speculation of a bid in recent weeks by creating personal social media accounts that regularly featured him with his family dog, cheering on sporting events and even drinking beer in his kitchen.
Pompeo was on Capitol Hill Monday to brief senators on the drone strike and the administration’s plans going forward, according to Trump administration officials, and met with McConnell.
A person close to McConnell confirmed the meeting. “Leader McConnell spoke with Secretary Pompeo this afternoon where he indicated he will not be running for Senate. Leader McConnell believes Secretary Pompeo is doing an incredible job as Secretary of State and is exactly where the country needs him right now,” the person said.
The news on Pompeo’s decision was first reported by the New York Times.
Aides said President Trump wanted Pompeo to stay on as secretary of state, particularly after the strike that killed a top Iranian military commander, Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani.
A State Department spokesperson did not offer an immediate comment.
For weeks, people close to Pompeo said he had misgivings about becoming a relatively junior senator from Kansas after leading the State Department and the CIA.
His status as the most influential and trusted Trump aide on matters of national security also gave him sway over momentous issues of global import, such as the decision to kill Soleimani. His ability to shape world events from the upper chamber of Congress would shrink significantly by comparison.
Declining to run for Senate would also afford him the opportunity to make more money in the private sector when he departs the administration through consulting, paid speeches and other lucrative jobs that have become commonplace for former Cabinet members.
Trump assembled one of the wealthiest Cabinets in modern American history, but Pompeo, a former congressman who previously had a lackluster business record in the aerospace industry, has a net worth that is far smaller than his colleagues.