- President Donald Trump has four “favorite” questions that he asks during his daily intelligence briefings, The New York Times Magazine reported in a profile on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo published on Tuesday.
- The Times reported that Trump always asks Pompeo and his intelligence officials, “Why should we care?” “What’s in it for us?” “Can anyone else do it?” and “How much does it cost?” when evaluating a proposal.
- Pompeo has served as Trump’s secretary of state since March 2018 and has traveled the world trying to bridge the gap between Trump’s ever-changing foreign-policy goals and the interests of America’s allies.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has learned to be prepared for President Donald Trump’s four “favorite” questions that he asks during his daily intelligence briefings, The New York Times Magazine reported in a profile on Pompeo published on Tuesday.
The Times said Trump always Pompeo and his intelligence officials, “Why should we care?” “What’s in it for us?” “Can anyone else do it?” and “How much does it cost?” when trying to understand an issue or evaluate a proposal.
The piece, titled “Mike Pompeo’s Mission: Translate Trump to a Wary World,” chronicles how Pompeo has developed a close understanding with Trump, in contrast to the rocky relationship Trump held with Pompeo’s predecessor, Rex Tillerson.
The former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon told The Times that Pompeo “can connect with [Trump].” “You can tell the president is differently engaged with Pompeo than with anybody else,” he said.
“Mike Pompeo is doing a great job, I am very proud of him. His predecessor, Rex Tillerson, didn’t have the mental capacity needed,” Trump wrote in a December tweet attacking Tillerson.
Pompeo first joined the Trump administration as the CIA director in January 2017, and he was named the secretary of state soon after Tillerson’s departure. Previously, Pompeo represented Kansas in the House of Representatives.
During Pompeo’s tenure, Trump has engaged in multiple trade battles with China and the European Union, and slammed NATO allies for “not paying their fair share” of dues and “cheating” America. The president has also engaged with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin — two of America’s traditional adversaries.
Since then, Pompeo has traveled the world as Trump’s principal surrogate on the international stage, reiterating Trump’s objectives — even as the president abruptly changes them with tweets — while attempting to assuage the concerns of America’s allies.
While Pompeo and Trump have a smoother relationship than Trump and Tillerson, they still sometimes contradict each other on important foreign-policy matters.
In a Sunday TV appearance on CNN, Pompeo told the anchor Jake Tapper he believed North Korea remained a nuclear threat to America — despite Trump tweeting in June 2018 that there is “no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea” after his first summit with Kim in Singapore.
Trump and Pompeo are in Hanoi, Vietnam, this week for Trump’s second nuclear summit with North Korea.