Mike Pompeo Hits Ex-Boss Trump as Not a True Conservative

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Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tried hard to make his case against former President Donald Trump—by saying his former boss isn’t a true conservative at all.

Speaking with host Shannon Bream on Fox News Sunday, Pompeo was asked if he would do a better job at managing the federal deficit and the onslaught of federal debt incurred by Trump during his tenure. His response included attacking his former boss as a poor money manager, lumping him in with classic Republican scapegoats like Barack Obama and, oddly, George W. Bush.

“I think President Pompeo or any conservative president will do better than not only we did during the four years in the Trump administration, Barack Obama, George Bush—the list is long, Shannon, of folks who come to Washington on one theory and aren’t prepared to stand up and explain to the American people how we’re actually going to get that right,” he said. “It’s going to take a true conservative leader, Shannon.”

Bream seemed surprised at Pompeo’s implication. “Are you saying that former President Trump wasn’t a true conservative leader?” she asked.

Pompeo was frank in his response, opting away from the standard defense a former Trump official usually employs for the former president. “Six trillion dollars more in debt. That’s never the right direction for the country, Shannon.”

What Pompeo did not acknowledge: The federal debt actually increased by nearly $7.8 trillion during the Trump administration, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Pompeo, who’s widely expected to announce a White House run, used the Sunday appearance to continue a weekend-long rebuke of Trump and his ideology. It followed a stark speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Friday that called out the ex-president in everything but name.

“We shouldn’t look for larger-than-life personalities, but rather we should find power in the rooms like this one,” he told a diminished crowd, later adding: “We can’t become the left, following celebrity leaders with their own brand of identity politics—those with fragile egos who refuse to acknowledge reality.”

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