Channel 1 Los Angeles
9/23/2020 Washington D.C.
QUESTION: It comes back to leadership, America leading. But it also comes back to leadership here at the State Department, a lot of great people who work here, who are patriots. But in the absence of strong leadership, it doesn’t always turn out the right way. And I think under this President and, in fact, your appointment here as Secretary of State, we’ve proven that America can lead and make some difficult decisions.
And I want to talk about some of those, Secretary Pompeo. And I want to start by just kind of putting this moment in context for the Value Voter Summit. And again, I want to thank you for joining us at the Value Voter Summit. You’ve been a speaker multiple times. You came when you were first elected to Congress, you came last year, and it’s always great to have you being a part of that.
But when you look at the confluence of issues, look at the coronavirus coming out of China; we’ve got, of course, domestic issues; but we’ve got Iran, the snapback of the sanctions there, China working in Latin America, working with the Vatican, a lot of things happening right now.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah. This is a moment. There’s no doubt about that. And I think we have done really good work at setting the conditions all around the world for the flourishing of the human condition. And I say that – that sounds lofty and ethereal, but it’s really connected to real people’s lives. And if you think about the way President Trump thinks about foreign policy, it is this idea of principled realism. We can’t be everywhere; we can’t be all things. But we can demonstrate through the goodness of America, through the economic might and power of America, through the way we conduct ourselves around the world – we defend human rights, the unalienable rights that every human being has, because they’re made in the image of God. We defend that everywhere and always. We don’t – we’re not always successful, and we use different tools in different places. But that central set of understandings about how America can be a force for good in the world while delivering really good outcomes for the American people is at the heart of what we’re trying to do.
And whether it’s the theocratic regime in the Islamic Republic of Iran or the nasty brutality of the Chinse Communist Party and what they’re doing in western China to their own people, this administration has stood strong. We have used our tools that we have available to us to deliver a better set of options and opportunities for virtually everyone.
QUESTION: You mentioned, Mr. Secretary, inalienable rights. That brings to mind the commission that you formed, the – on inalienable rights that drew a lot of controversy from the left. But it’s kind of a recalibration of what are human rights.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Tony, I think anyone who has been working in the religious freedom space and the human rights space over these past years would accept the fact that the central understandings of our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that there’s a real crisis. When you see the Human Rights Council at the UN, for example, with countries like Venezuela and Iran and some of the worst actors in the world running those things, sitting as members, we know there’s a real challenge.
So what I did – so I wanted to go back and reground how the United States thinks about human rights around the world, and so I formed a commission led by a woman named Mary Ann Glendon, a professor at Harvard Law School, former ambassador – U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, and asked she and the commission to go back and look and take the central ideas of our Judeo-Christian nation and lay them across how we think about our – the principles of our foreign policy, help everyone get a chance. It’s about 50-plus pages. You can go read it in seven languages on our website and take a look. I think it will remind everyone about why this is, in fact, the greatest nation in the history of civilization.