Photo by Patrick G. Ryan, CUA Photographer
By Nicholas Barry
The 70th United States Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, visited The Catholic University of America’s campus this week to make a speech regarding the significance of religious freedom.
Former Secretary Pompeo’s political career thus far includes being a United States House Representative from Kansas, CIA director, and, most recently, 4th in the line of succession as Secretary of State in former President Donald Trump’s cabinet. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, NY.
The event took place at Catholic University’s Heritage Hall and was hosted by the College Republicans. Only 50 people were allowed for in-person attendance due to COVID-19 restrictions. Tickets sold out online within minutes.
“The single largest threat to the American way of life – and indeed I would describe it as the Western tradition, the liberal order in the world today – is not close. It is the Chinese Communist Party. They’re a 100, and the next one is a 52,” Pompeo said in response to an audience question about US interests abroad. “They have scale. They have size. They have intent with respect to undermining the basic order, the rule of law, property rights, the understandings of faith that we all take for granted here in the United States.”
In response to another audience question, Pompeo said North Korea was the toughest country to interact with during his tenure.
“You talk about a place that has the absence of religious freedom, I’d put North Korea as Ground Zero,” Pompeo stated.
In his formal remarks, former Secretary Pompeo discussed ways to protect and preserve religious freedoms. He spoke about his travel experiences as Secretary of State and his meetings with prominent religious and government leaders to show the benefits and values of the freedom of religion.
“Every human being is created in the image of God and therefore they ought to have the opportunity to practice their faith if they so choose and no government should stop them,” former Secretary Pompeo said.
“I made it a real priority, as did President Trump, to work on religious freedom,” Pompeo said, adding later, “The United States indeed has a deep responsibility to help build out religious freedom across the world.”
Pompeo’s statements resonated with some students.
“Secretary Pompeo made a very interesting and compelling case for religious freedom across the globe by drawing from his years in public service,” said sophomore politics major John Desordi. “I think that everyone who witnessed the event came away with a comprehensive understanding of the issues that face our faith and all religions facing persecution and oppression.”
After the event finished, former Secretary Pompeo posted over social media about the success of the conversation. Pompeo shared on both Twitter and Instagram that he, “Had the honor of joining the @CatholicUniv College Republicans today to share the importance of religious freedom around the world. We must never stop championing this inalienable right.”
Secretary Pompeo is also rumored to be running for President in 2024. “Goodness knows what 2023 to 2024 will hold for Mike Pompeo and for my family. We are praying and thinking about it,” the former Secretary of State concluded when asked about his political future.