President Donald Trump said Friday he would support Secretary of State Mike Pompeo if he quit to run for Senate, as the top US diplomat becomes increasingly embroiled in the impeachment drama.
Trump’s blessing for his close ally’s potential departure marks the first public confirmation that Pompeo is considering the Senate race next year in his home state of Kansas.
Always careful not to upset Trump, Pompeo has been coy in his statements on a Senate bid even as his repeated trips to Kansas and regular interviews with media in the Great Plains state increasingly left little doubt.
In an interview with “Fox and Friends,” Trump said that Pompeo told him, “’Look, I’d rather stay where I am’” but that he “loves Kansas.”
“If he thought there was a chance of (the Republican Party) losing that seat, I think he would do that, and he would win in a landslide because they love him in Kansas,” Trump said.
Kansas is heavily Republican and has not elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1932, the longest streak that any state has shut out one of the two major US parties.
But neither party is taking chances on next year’s election, in which Trump is seeking a second term.
Kansas elected a Democrat as governor last year and the Republican candidates for the Senate nomination include Kris Kobach, a firebrand anti-immigration activist who is unlikely to appeal to centrists.
Pompeo, an evangelical Christian former congressman with roots in the populist Tea Party movement, is widely seen as harboring ambitions to run for president himself in 2024.