Pompeo tells CPAC not to look to ‘celebrity’ candidates with ‘fragile egos’ in rebuke to Trump

The former US secretary of state is widely expected to announce a 2024 campaign for the presidency

Andrew Feinberg
Friday 03 March 2023 19:24 GMT
Donald Trump Jr insults Senator John Fetterman's condition in CPAC rant

Support truly
independent journalism

Our mission is to deliver unbiased, fact-based reporting that holds power to account and exposes the truth.

Whether $5 or $50, every contribution counts.

Support us to deliver journalism without an agenda.

Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday laid into Donald Trump for his refusal to accept the results of the 2020 election and his former administration’s lack of fiscal discipline, in remarks to a half-full ballroom at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland.

Mr Pompeo, who served as Mr Trump’s top diplomat after a stint director of the Central Intelligence Agency, went so far as to acknowledge that the Republican Party has failed to achieve victories in multiple election cycles in the years since Mr Trump won the presidency over Hillary Clinton, telling attendees that the GOP had “lost three elections in a row”.

The former secretary of state’s remark drew no reaction from a crowd that had heard multiple Trumpworld figures repeat the false claim that the 2020 election was stolen from the same stage, including during a bombastic address by Kimberly Guilfoyle, the ex-Fox News presenter who is engaged to Mr Trump’s eldest son.

Mr Pompeo also hit out at former president Trump more directly, though he did not mention his former boss’ name once during his speech.

At one point, he said the GOP “cannot become the left, following celebrity leaders with their own brand of identify politics”.

He also appeared to more directly rebuke Mr Trump’s stolen election lies by exhorting the crowd against following leaders who “cannot accept reality”.

“We lost race after winnable race because voters didn’t trust us to do any better than the tax-and-spend liberals,” he said, adding that the administration he’d served in for four years had added to a now-exorbitant national debt.

He also teased a presidential run of his own while hitting back against critics who say Mr Trump’s character flaws aren’t important, telling attendees: "Over the last few years, I've heard some who claim to be conservative excuse hypocrisy by saying something like 'well, we're we're electing a president, not a Sunday school teacher,’” he said.

“That's true. But having taught Sunday school, maybe we could get both”.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in