Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell interviewed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a speaking event at the University of Louisville on Monday.
McConnell did not ask Pompeo about the ongoing impeachment proceedings of President Donald Trump or whether Pompeo would resign to run for U.S. Senate in his home state of Kansas.
(McConnell has been an outspoken advocate for Pompeo to replace retiring Republican Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas.)
Instead, their conversation focused on foreign policy, including the Trump administration’s stance on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
Pompeo said that China needs to respect the “one country, two systems” arrangement that has governed the former British colony since it came under China’s rule in 1997.
“Our effort is to make sure that those weren’t empty promises that were made to the people of Hong Kong,” Pompeo said. “The Chinese Communist Party owes it to those people to live up to those commitments that they made.”
Pompeo also accused Cuba and the embattled Venezuelan government of trying to undermine democratic movements in Latin America and inviting “bad actors” like Russia and Iran to gain a foothold in the Western Hemisphere.
“We’ve seen protests in a number of nations — in Bolivia, in Chile, in Colombia and Ecuador. Those protests reflect the character of legitimate democratic governments and democratic expression inside of their countries,” Pompeo said.
The event was part of the ongoing Distinguished Speaker Series at U of L’s McConnell Center, which is named after the 6-term senator, who is running for reelection next year.
McConnell congratulated two Republican alumni of the center who were recently elected to statewide office in Kentucky — Attorney General-elect Daniel Cameron and Secretary of State-elect Michael Adams.
McConnell joked that the program also accepts Democrats.
“They just haven’t run yet, or at least haven’t won yet,” McConnell said.