Speaking in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday, former CIA Director and nominee for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pushed back on allegations he is a "hardliner" on matters of foreign policy.
"I know some of you have read the story is I'm a hawk, I'm a hardliner," Pompeo said with frustration. "There's no one like someone who served in uniform who understands the value of diplomacy and the terror and tragedy that is war."
Pompeo graduated number one in his class from West Point. He served in Germany patrolling the Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall before they fell.
"There is a great deal of room between a military presence and war. War is always the last resort. I would prefer achieving the President’s foreign policy goals with unrelenting diplomacy rather than by sending young men and women to war," he continued.
Just yesterday, CNN published a story with the headline "World way as Trump turns to hardliners Bolton and Pompeo."
During his opening statement, Pompeo also stressed the need for American leadership in the world and argued because the United States is blessed, there is an obligation to prevail.
"America is uniquely blessed and with those blessings comes a duty to lead," Pompeo said. "As I have argued throughout my time in public service, if we do not lead the calls for democracy, prosperity, and human rights around the world, who will? No other nation is equipped with the same blend of power and principle.”
During his remarks, Pompeo touted his own leadership skills during his time at the CIA. He stressed the need to immediately boost morale within the State Department and to quickly fill empty U.S. diplomatic posts around the world.
"I believe deeply that the State Departments workforce must be diverse, in the same way I've worked for that at the CIA. Diverse in every sense of the word: race, religion, background and more," he said. “Throughout my time in Congress and at the CIA, I’ve met hundreds of State Department leaders and officers, and I’ve met even more over the past month. In a recent series of Department briefings with team members at State, they all, to a person, expressed a hope to be empowered in their roles, and to have a clear understanding of the President’s mission. That will be my first priority. They also shared how demoralizing it is to have so many vacancies and, frankly, not to feel relevant. I’ll do my part to end the vacancies, but I’ll need your help. And I will work every day to provide dedicated leadership and convey my faith in their work—just as I have done with my workforce at the CIA.”