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Secretary Michael R. Pompeo Remarks to Traveling Press

Remarks to the Press
Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State
En Route to Croatia
October 2, 2020

SECRETARY POMPEO: Good morning, everyone.

QUESTION: Good morning.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Everybody feeling good? Healthy? Ready for one more stop?

QUESTION: How are you feeling?

SECRETARY POMPEO: I am feeling fantastic. I was tested about 30 minutes ago. That would be the fourth time I was tested in the course of the last two and a half weeks. I remember the dates: 16th, 24th, 27th, and now October 2nd. I actually have not been with the President since the Abraham Accords on the 15th. I've been travelling, I can't remember, 10 of the last – 12 of the last 17 days, something like that.

QUESTION: Ten of seventeen, sir.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Ten of seventeen, so I've been gone a lot. Some of you were with me on the trip to South America (inaudible). We're praying for the President and the First Lady, that they'll have a speedy recovery. I'm sorry, I'll try to speak up a little bit. I said that they'll have a speedy recovery. I spoke with the Vice President's office this morning as well. We're taking this, obviously, very seriously, and we'll do everything we can to keep everyone safe, including you all.

QUESTION: Do you have your results yet? Do you know if you're positive or negative?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes. No, I'm negative. Yes, as of 20 minutes ago, or 30 minutes ago.

QUESTION: Do you still plan on traveling this weekend?

SECRETARY POMPEO: We're going to evaluate that, whether the – it's appropriate to travel. I was headed to Florida – let's see if I get the days right – tomorrow, Saturday, and then off to Asia on Sunday. I think it's more dangerous that I'm standing than anything else, you guys you got a handhold, yeah? But I'm planning to head to Asia on Sunday. We'll spend the next few hours and try to figure out what the medical team says. I've talked to my doctor back in Washington, the State Department medical team. They said it would be perfectly fine to make both of those trips, but we're going to continue to look at it.

QUESTION: Are you taking any —

QUESTION: Any extra precautions?

SECRETARY POMPEO: We take a lot of precautions. So yeah, I mean, we'll – we're measuring, trying to make sure we get some additional contact tracing on folks that have been to the White House. We're watching as the White House is conducting – doing its work as well. So yeah, we'll certainly be careful. But we have been awful careful for months and months and months. And we're doing our best to keep everybody safe, all my whole team, everybody who's – both back in Washington and traveling as well.

QUESTION: Does this mean that you get any kind of additional briefings because you're fourth in line in succession? I mean, is there anything that changes in the way that —

SECRETARY POMPEO: No, I don't think so. I don't think anything will change. I've had access for three and a half years now to just about everything, so.

QUESTION: And is your wife okay, too?

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, she's good too. They actually just tested her, too; her test came back negative 20 minutes ago, or 15 minutes ago as well. So everybody's good. We'll keep praying that stays the course.

QUESTION: And everyone else in here? Is there anyone —

SECRETARY POMPEO: Nobody with symptoms. Everybody says they're all feeling good. And we'll – anybody who says they've got a symptom or something, we'll make sure to take extra special care of them. But we feel like we're in pretty good shape. The medical team has cleared us to take this next stop here in Croatia, and we'll do that, and then we'll hop back on the plane and I'll give you a further update then; it'll be morning time in Washington. I'll give you a further update then as well.

QUESTION: Is there any change to your schedule while you're in Croatia, or proceeding as planned?

SECRETARY POMPEO: No, no change. Proceeding as planned at this point. We've had contact with the Croatians; they seem to understand what we're doing, and everything seems good. But we're obviously going to make sure that they're comfortable with what we're doing as well.

QUESTION: Were you considering not going to Croatia? Did this – did today's news —

SECRETARY POMPEO: Well, I wanted to talk to the medical team to make sure that they thought that everything was right and made sense. But we do this on every trip, on every stop, do this on every visit. When I travel even across town in Washington, we're always making sure that we're following all the protocols we need to do, and we're doing the same thing here on this visit as well. And we'll do it for the travel for the remainder. As long as COVID's around, we'll continue to operate under that set of guidelines.

QUESTION: So why would you maybe consider not going to Florida this weekend or to Asia? I mean, it's kind of —

SECRETARY POMPEO: We've just got to make sure we're doing what the medical team says makes sense. And then we want to make sure, too – want to make sure that we're doing everything we need to do in Washington to make sure that we are covered down there as well. The Secretary of Defense is traveling, too; we want to make sure we're handling this in a way that makes sense. So we'll continue to evaluate. All right?

QUESTION: Okay, thank you.

SECRETARY POMPEO: All right. Stay safe, everybody.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: Thank you for coming up and speaking with us.


QUESTION: We really appreciate it.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Absolutely. You're most welcome. I didn't mean to blow your question off; I swear I couldn't hear it. I know you don't believe me. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: No, I believe you. I —

QUESTION: Why don't you ask now?

QUESTION: I was wondering –


QUESTION: I was just wondering at the time – I didn't mean to interrupt the program – if the – if there was sort of the indirect benefit of what you were doing in (inaudible) and that a treaty would maybe crowd out Russian or Chinese malign influence, especially in a place like Central African Republic.

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yes, it's absolutely the case. It's absolutely the case. And we've been working on this for a long time. So it's nothing new that happened over the past weeks, but it's absolutely the case that now that we've got that in place, we're now a signatory. We think it increases the security and prosperity for the people all across the world when it comes to those kinds of pieces of equipment. That's the question you were asking, right?

QUESTION: Yeah. What's at stake in that part of the world in particular? I know obviously things like Russian blood diamond trade, but —

SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, so you have the Chinese working to make investments in Italy and throughout Europe, and we've said if it's a commercial deal straight-up, that's just great. But we know how often when Chinese companies show up, it's their security apparatus and state-owned enterprises operating both in a subsidized manner and in a predatory manner. So we always want to do everything we can to make sure that the competition around the world is free and fair and transparent and on a reciprocal basis. That's what – when I talked to (inaudible), that's what I spoke to as well.

QUESTION: All right. Thank you, sir.

SECRETARY POMPEO: All right. Thanks, everybody.

QUESTION: Thank you very much.

SECRETARY POMPEO: I'll come back and see you after this stop as well.

QUESTION: Great. Thank you so much.

QUESTION: Thank you.

SECRETARY POMPEO: No worries. Yep.

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