Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday ruled out the prospect of running for an open Senate seat next year in Kansas, rejecting overtures by leading Republicans that would have caused President Trump to lose one of his favorite Cabinet members.
“It’s ruled out. I’m here. I’m loving it,” Pompeo said on NBC’s “Today” show, where he discussed Trump’s summit next week with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, among other foreign policy issues.
“I’m going to be the secretary of state as long as President Trump gives me the opportunity to serve as America’s senior diplomat,” said Pompeo, who has risen through the ranks in Washington from a congressman representing a Kansas district to CIA director and now the head of the State Department.
The Washington Post reported last month that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) courted Pompeo to consider running, according to two people familiar with the conversation. Pompeo later confirmed the discussion.
GOP leaders immediately started eyeing Pompeo after Sen. Pat Roberts (R) announced in January that he would not seek another term, opening a seat held by Republicans for nearly a century. Kansas is traditionally a Republican state, but voters there elected a Democratic governor last year, and several female Republican state lawmakers have recently switched parties.
During an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation” that aired ahead of the Super Bowl this month, Trump said Pompeo told him he was not leaving his current position and expressed confidence that he would not pursue a Senate seat in Kansas.
“I asked him the question the other day. He says he’s absolutely not leaving. I don’t think he’d do that. And he doesn’t want to be lame duck,” Trump said.
Sean Sullivan contributed to this report.