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EXCLUSIVE – In a trip that will spark further speculation about a potential presidential run, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo returns to Iowa this week to take part in a panel focusing on the importance of U.S. engagement and strength abroad and how that impacts Americans back at home.
Pompeo, a former congressman from Kansas who served as CIA director and later as America’s top diplomat during former President Donald Trump’s administration, will be in Des Moines on Wednesday, as he is featured on an inaugural panel assembled by the newly created Bastion Institute.
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The trip to Iowa – whose caucuses for half a century have kicked off the presidential nominating calendar – is Pompeo’s third over the past year. And the West Point graduate, who served as an Army officer stationed in Germany during the Cold War, returns to the Hawkeye State next month (March 11) to headline an Iowa GOP fundraiser in Davenport, which is located along the Mississippi River in the eastern part of the state.
Fox News has also learned that Pompeo will head back to Iowa again in April for events in the western part of the state.
Iowa is not the only early caucus or primary state Pompeo’s visiting. The Fox News contributor stopped twice last year in New Hampshire, which votes second after Iowa and for a century has held the first primary in the White House race. He has also made trips to South Carolina and Nevada, which hold the third and fourth nominating contests in the GOP presidential calendar.
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Asked about 2024, Pompeo, told Fox News last summer in Iowa that “my wife and I will pray and we’ll think our way through it and when we hit 2023, we’ll figure our way through it.”
Regarding whether Trump follows through on his repeated flirtations and launches another White House run, Pompeo said “President Trump will do his thing … he’ll make his choice. We’ll do our bit …I ’m going to stay in that fight and I’m confident that President Trump is going to stay in that fight too. Where that actually takes us in 2023 and 2024, we’ll all have to wait and see.”
Pompeo will be joined on the Bastion Institute panel by Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, the first female combat veteran elected to the U.S. Senate and a current member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Also taking part on the panel is former longtime Iowa Gov.Terry Branstad, who served as U.S. ambassador to China during the Trump administration.
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The Bastion Institute says that its primary focus is “on sparking discussion” around what it argues is “America’s weakening stance abroad and the need for the country to re-emerge as the world superpower it truly is.”
The Institute says that Wednesday’s panel is the first of many that will “focus on discussions around China, Russia, Iran, American allies, and more, and why these topics and relationships matter to everyday Americans.”