Mike Pompeo has been a pleasant surprise as Secretary of State. He’s perfectly aligned with President Trump’s foreign policy and seems to be representing us with the appropriate level of force necessary from the nation’s top diplomat. But as we move into an election season with a thin hold on the Senate, it makes sense for the former Congressman to run for retiring Pat Roberts’s Senate seat.
Doing so would open some doors for him to make moves ahead of 2024, if he so chooses. Unofficially, Pompeo is being eyed as a potential 2024 presidential contender. Being in the Senate will give him a safer platform from which to operate now that he has his foreign relations credentials squarely secured. He doesn’t have to prove anything else to voters in that end, so sponsoring some legislation and spending more time on C-Span than on airplanes would be politically expedient for him. Even if he doesn’t run in 2020, the 55-year-old could easily be in the next Republican President’s cabinet, remain a Senator in Kansas indefinitely, or get tapped to be someone’s VP.
Who would replace him? Senators Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton come to mind as needing to get some foreign relations experience on their resume. Both are considered likely 2024 presidential candidates. Both have had success building strong conservative brands in the Senate. Both have the smarts to handle the role of Secretary of State. Most importantly, both are liked by President Trump.
This is all speculation. It’s a wishlist. But even with our focus on the 2020 election, we need to be thinking who would best serve the nation’s interests now and in the future. It’s risky to move pieces around this close to the election, especially at the State Department. But if a low-risk person like Cruz or Cotton takes the job and NOT someone out of left field like Rex Tillerson, this can actually be a very positive thing.
One other Senator has been floated for the job and someone who has already claimed they don’t want the job should be considered. Senator Marco Rubio, who I supported in the 2016 primaries, would not be a good choice as his aggressive foreign relations stance would run counter to the President’s. Rubio is too much of a wild card to put in the White House at this stage. Yes, he’s a Trump supporter, but at times he’s seemed too willing to speak carelessly. That’s not what we need at the State Department. Then, there’s former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley would be excellent for the position. But having already exited the White House once, it seems unlikely she would return… unless she was just waiting for the right job.
These hypothetical moves, if handled properly, could be very beneficial for the nation, the President’s reelection chances, and everyone involved. Pre-election shakeups are dangerous, but a smooth one might be in order this time.
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