It may only be 2021, but the race to the White House in 2024 is informally underway.
Although he hasn’t announced his candidacy, former congressman, CIA director, and secretary of state Mike Pompeo is hardly playing hard to get.
Last week, Pompeo told Sean Hannity he is “always up for a fight.” He also agreed with Hannity that he is a “strong maybe” to run for president.
And as first reported by Fox News, an advisor for Pompeo said he is heading to Iowa later this month to “help the party and advocate for conservatives.”
If he enters the race, Pompeo will likely run, taking a hard stance on China, leveraging his experience as secretary of state and director of the CIA.
In January, then-secretary Pompeo declared China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims “genocide” before imposing fresh sanctions on the communist nation.
“I have determined that the PRC [People’s Republic of China], under the direction and control of the CCP [Chinese Communist Party], has committed genocide against the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang,” Pompeo said.
Last month, Pompeo called on President Joe Biden to boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics if the International Olympic Committee doesn’t move Beijing’s games.
“It is completely inappropriate for these games to be held in Beijing in 2022, not only because of the genocide determination that I made in the very closing days of the administration, but [also] more broadly … we don’t want to reward Chinese propaganda and [give] the Chinese an opportunity to tell the world that this model, this model of governance, this model of seeking hegemony around the world, is the right one,” he told the Washington Examiner
Pompeo has long been a critic of China. As Secretary of State, he made efforts to shut-down CCP-funded cultural centers known as “Confucius Institutes” on American college campuses. UNH President Jim Dean quietly announced last month that UNH has decided to close its Confucius Institute, but only due to pressure from the federal government.
Many Americans share Pompeo’s critical view of China, and he may find success using it as a wedge issue on the campaign trail.
In late 2020, 73 percent of Americans had an unfavorable view of China, and 77 percent had no confidence in Chinese President Xi Jinping. And 64 percent of Americans believed China did a poor job handling the COVID-19 outbreak.
Iowa and New Hampshire are make-or-break states for many potential presidential campaigns, allowing primary campaigns to build momentum as they head into South Carolina and Super Tuesday. However, the last non-incumbent Democrat to win New Hampshire and become the party’s nominee was John Kerry in 2004. Joe Biden came in an embarrassing fifth place last year.
Several notable Republicans, seen as likely 2024 contenders, made trips to the Granite State to support President Trump and down-ballot Republicans during last year’s campaign. However, Pompeo wasn’t one of them.
Former Vice President Mike Pence visited New Hampshire four times over the 2020 campaign cycle, first to file himself and Donald Trump’s candidacy for the First in the Nation Primary, and later held three rallies across the Granite State.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a rising star in conservative circles, took part in a Team Trump on Tour bus trip across New Hampshire to support Trump’s campaign.
Former United Nations Ambassador and South Carolina Gov, Nikki Haley held fundraisers for New Hampshire’s Committee to Elect House Republicans and Matt Mowers in his bid to unseat incumbent congressman Chris Pappas.
Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton visited Manchester for a meet and greet. He also worked a phone bank with New Hampshire Trump Victory volunteers over the summer and later held a press conference in Londonderry with Mowers. Notably, Cotton is already advertising in New Hampshire, pressuring Sen. Maggie Hassan to vote against President Joe Biden’s “extreme” cabinet nominees like Xavier Becerra for Health and Human Services.