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Pompeo expects conversation on what's next for him if Trump wins

By Humeyra Pamuk and Arshad Mohammed | Tue, September 15, 2020 11:31 EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday he expected to have a conversation about what role he may play if President Donald Trump wins a second term, saying "there is still a lot of work to do and I would love to find a way to be a part of that."

It was unclear from Pompeo's comment, made in response to a multi-part question during a virtual think tank appearance, whether he was suggesting a willingness to continue as U.S. secretary of state or in some other role.

An evangelical Christian, Pompeo is suspected of harboring presidential ambitions, possibly as early as the 2024 election. He became secretary of state in April 2018 after serving as Trump's CIA director.

On Tuesday, he said he has worked hard to ensure his relationship with Trump was solid and that he advanced Trump's priorities even if they did not always agree.

"We don’t always agree. I make recommendations to him. He takes some of them. Some of them he has a different view. I then go execute them as vigorously as I can and I drive my team to go do that," Pompeo said.

Pompeo, 56, has a reputation as a staunch loyalist who would not challenge the president and told him what he wanted to hear, a discipline perhaps honed at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he graduated first in his class.

Pompeo aligned himself closely to Trump by pursuing hawkish policies on Iran and Venezuela and overseeing harsher sanctions to try to force them to yield to U.S. demands, outcomes that have yet to materialize.

Several media reports said Pompeo was weighing a run for a U.S. Senate seat from Kansas, his adoptive home. On Tuesday, he admitted to having given it a thought.

"I love Kansas. My wife and I miss it dearly. That was the attractive piece of considering the race but we never, frankly, considered running very actively," he said.

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Arshad Mohammed; Additional reporting by David Brunnstrom and Daphne Psaledakis; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Dan Grebler)

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