MANHATTAN — The former Kansas congressman and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave a lecture as part of the Landon Lecture Series on Friday at Kansas State University.
“To quote the famous phrase, there is literally ‘no place like home,'” Pompeo said.
As the fourth secretary of state to speak at a Landon Lecture, Pompeo focused his lecture on foreign conflicts and stressed the importance of human rights across the globe.
“I always speak out on behalf of the people of Iran, of Venezuela, of China and people of all other nationalities who do not have the benefit that we have,” Pompeo said. “They deserve their god-given freedoms just as much as we do.”
Pompeo spoke in an interview regarding the United States' new trade deal with Mexico and Canada and stated how it will benefit Kansans as well as the administration’s struggles with China regarding tariffs and pollution.
“They signed the Paris Accords, and yet they are the most environmentally unfriendly economy in the world today, growing their carbon emissions at enormous rates,” Pompeo said. “This is wrong. It’s not enough to say we’re members of the Paris Accord. You have to deliver better outcomes for your people and for the planet.”
The U.S. has also made a large amount of progress towards preventing the threat of terrorism, Pompeo said.
“We have to be ever vigilant, and President Trump is making sure we do that whether it’s terrorism emanating from Africa, from the Middle East or from Asia,” Pompeo said. “The United States is going to be vigilant in making sure we protect the American people.”
Pompeo also addressed the recent speculation of him running for Pat Roberts’ U.S. Senate seat. He said he is unsure of what the future holds for him and that he will stay serving as Trump’s secretary of state for as long as he would like.
After his lecture, Pompeo held a question-and-answer session with the crowd, where he was asked about topics ranging from abortion, to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to even life advice for the students in the crowd.
“I have much more respect for him,” said Kansas State University student Alyssa Harris. “[But] I was disappointed in some of the typical Republican responses to the questions that were given.”
The lecture brought in a crowd of hundreds, ranging from the young to the old with all different points of view.
“I thought he did a phenomenal job today talking about our rights from the Declaration of Independence,” said Steve Baccus, an attendee at the lecture. “Then when he got into the Q-and-A, he really shined.”