Secretary of State
Ben Franklin Room
May 2, 2018
SECRETARY POMPEO: This is truly humbling. Thank you very much, Mr. President, for those kind words. Thank you, Mr. Vice President, for being here today to honor me by swearing me in. Thank you, Ambassador Lawler. Ambassador Glendon, thank you so much for that invocation. I used to work for her for $7.50 an hour. (Laughter.)
It is a great honor to have so many distinguished guests here, including many of my fellow – my fellow cabinet secretaries and former colleagues in Congress. Thank you for coming today.
I was also glad to see USAID Administrator Mark Green. I look forward to working with you.
I want to first thank God for this opportunity, and for the many blessings he has granted to me in my life.
My wife Susan and my son Nick are two of the greatest of these. They are my number one fans, most days. (Laughter.)
And they have shown unyielding support to me throughout my confirmation process and at every other stage in my public service career. I love you both very, very much. (Applause.)
I want to thank John Sullivan, Deputy Secretary Sullivan. Where’s John? Yeah. John, thank you. Thank you for your service in this interim period. (Applause.)
Mr. President, I always want – also want to say thank you to you. You have entrusted me with a weighty and awesome responsibility to serve the American people – first as the director of the CIA, and now as the Secretary of State.
This responsibility becomes more sobering when we consider the many threats to American security and prosperity and our liberty.
Mr. President, I promise you my team and I will be unrelenting in confronting those threats.
We will employ tough diplomacy, when necessary, to put the interests of the American people first. I will work to ensure their safety, to preserve their rights, and to defend their values. And I will make sure America is always a respected and principled leader on the world stage. (Applause.)
We are but 15 months into this administration, and we’ve already made outstanding progress by speaking the truth about the challenges we face, by confronting them head-on, by partnering with strong, sovereign, independent nations to make America – and the world – more prosperous and secure.
We’ve put hurt on the ISIS caliphate in Iraq and Syria. We’ve done so by great diplomatic work.
We are confronting all types of Iranian hostility, and are deciding on the next steps for the flawed JCPOA.
We’ve imposed real consequences on Russia for its acts of aggression.
And we will soon move our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem years ahead of schedule. (Applause.)
We are bringing fairness and reciprocity to our economic relationship with China and protecting our intellectual property from them as well. (Applause.)
And we saw in your meetings last week with President Macron and Chancellor Merkel, we continue to uphold and strengthen our time-honored alliances.
But there’s one more thing. Right now, we have an unprecedented opportunity to change the course of history on the Korean Peninsula.
I underscore the word opportunity.
We are in the beginning stages of the work, and the outcome is certainly yet unknown. But one thing is certain: this administration will not repeat the mistakes of the past. Our eyes are wide open.
It’s time to solve this once and for all. A bad deal is not an option. The American people are counting on us to get this right.
We are committed to the permanent, verifiable, irreversible dismantling of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction program, and to do so without delay.
To my colleagues here: When I say “we’re” going to do this, I mean “we.” This is a team effort at the State Department and the whole of the United States Government.
Mr. President, when you offered me the job to be the director of the CIA, I was honored to lead the world’s finest intelligence corps.
And I am incredibly honored and humbled by the opportunity to lead the world’s finest diplomatic corps now. (Applause.)
Mr. President, you read one of – a great quote from the greatest president ever from Kansas. (Laughter.) It was a historic quote, but frankly, things haven’t changed much since then. I’ve been an Army officer, a congressman, the director of the CIA, now here at State.
We have much to do, but in every position I’ve had, I’ve witnessed the skills, expertise, and patriotism of our foreign affairs professionals. Whether civil servants or Foreign Service officers, political appointees, or locally employed staff, you all lay it on the line to make sure that America is safe and prosperous and free. Thank you for that. (Applause.)
As I’ve said, and I’ll elaborate more, I want the State Department to get its swagger back. We need our men and women out at the front lines, executing American diplomacy with great vigor and energy, and to represent the finest nation in the history of civilization. We should be proud of that, and I’m counting on you all to help communicate in every corner of the world.
Mr. President, I have full confidence that my team here in Washington and around the world, under your leadership, can and will execute that mission for the benefit of the American people. And I’m eager to work with you all to get that job done.
You all know this is essential work. That’s why you’re here. It’s why I’m here. I look forward to doing this together.
Thank you all so much for the warm welcome I have received in these first days. I can’t wait to get after this with you.
Thank you again, Mr. President, for your trust and your leadership and your faith in me.
Thank you. (Applause.)