All Israel

TRANSCRIPT: Former Secretary Pompeo holds press conference at site of Nova music festival massacre

Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a press conference at site of Nova music festival massacre (Photo: ALL ISRAEL NEWS)

RE’IM, ISRAEL – The following is a transcript of former U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo’s press conference on Tuesday, lightly edited for clarity.

FORMER SECRETARY MIKE POMPEO: Good afternoon, everyone. This is sacred ground. To see the pictures of these young people reminds my wife and me, Susan, so much of our family and the families who lost loved ones here. And we pray for the souls of those lost and the families who remember them. It is also, as you walk this field, never far from my mind that not far from where we are standing there are hostages still being held. Some of them are U.S. citizens. Some of them are citizens of other places. All are people who are being held in awful conditions by barbarians. And the obligation of the world to ensure that they are returned here just as quickly as possible to their families is very much on my heart and that of my wife, Susan. 

We should all also be mindful that this is a recognition of something that I knew from my time as CIA director of the United States, and the Secretary of State, is that evil remains. And those of us who stand guard, those of us with the responsibility to provide security against this evil, have a continuous duty. That obligation didn't end on October 7th. It continues to this day. And I pray that the world will continue to support Israel, the brave soldiers who are fighting just behind us, and permit them to do what is necessary to ensure that events like this can never happen again. It is our duty, it is our responsibility, and we take it most seriously. We pray for all the people of Israel.

And with that, I'm happy to take a handful of questions. Susan, anything that you'd like to add?

REPORTER: What is your feeling when you stand here, as you go between the pictures. What are you feeling? 

POMPEO: That's always when everyone travels to a place where a great tragedy has taken place. I think of the American place as Gettysburg. I think of places where there were wars were fought, in places where, like New York City, where Ground Zero took place, where people's lives were lost, who were just trying to live their lives. You know, I've seen, I've read, so much about this. To come here and be here, just remind you of this responsibility.

REPORTER: Secretary Pompeo, I know you've been outspoken about Iran in the past. I wanted to ask you, after what you've seen today, what do you think Iran's involvement in this situation is? And has Biden's foreign policy on Iran contributed to the rise of terrorism in this region?

POMPEO: This is not the place to have that conversation. But we should always be deeply mindful that there is power behind the forces who came across these fence lines in Gaza. And I think, too, today of the struggle still in the north with Hezbollah. We should be mindful that what happened on October 7th is a symptom of the challenge that the Islamic Republic of Iran brings.

And so I think the world needs to remember that whether it's what's taking place in the Red Sea today, or what's happening – the fights that are going to occur around Rafah – that in the background is the Iranian leadership. It is Iranian training. It is Iranian money. And so, the responsibility to get this right will inevitably require lots of sustained effort against that true threat.

REPORTER: You know, people in my generation, my parents’ generation, have known that there has been support from the Democrats in America, from many officials in the United States. But I see that that's going away. Even my sisters that are 21 years old, not even a generation less than me, there is almost no support for Israel, and they're scared on college campuses. What do you think needs to happen in the United States to bring more support back onto Israel and stop this downward spiral?

POMPEO: Well, I'd like to remind you all that some of the things you see on CNN every day, or on some of the news, doesn't represent the reality of America, and the America that I know, and the people that I see. And that, by the way, it's not political. It's not Democrat or Republican. The American people stand firmly with the nation of Israel, the vast majority of them. And maybe I'll just stop there in this place. I don't think anyone should ever have any illusion about the evil that took place here. And I hope that the next generation will come to take that on board in the same way that my generation and the generation before me did, as well. But you should have great confidence that the American people stand with Israel. I know that I do. I believe it with all my soul and all my heart. 

JOEL C. ROSENBERG, TBN NEWS: Mr. Secretary, would you comment on the two hostages being released? And this was an intelligence failure on the 7th. But it's pretty dramatic, intelligence and military success yesterday.

POMPEO: It's always great news – some of my highlights as Secretary of State was when we were able to get hostages released. For the nation of Israel, it has to be incredibly joyous, [though we’re] mindful that there still remain dozens and dozens of hostages that are being held. So, great work by the broader intelligence community in the IDF, brave soldiers and warriors, much work left to do.

Joel Rosenberg asks former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a question at a press conference at site of Nova music festival massacre (Photo: ALL ISRAEL NEWS)

REPORTER: What are your views on the planned operation in Rafah? And also President Biden's view that Israel's response to Hamas has been “over the top.”

POMPEO: Israel's response to what took place on October 7th is perfectly appropriate and more importantly, necessary. 

Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a press conference at site of Nova music festival massacre (Photo: ALL ISRAEL NEWS)

REPORTER: What has to happen after the war, when the fighting stops? What kind of a situation needs to be in place to make sure it doesn’t happen again?

POMPEO: So, for today, I'll leave it with this – with a principle, not an outcome. The principle has to be this: It cannot be that a people would live their lives with the risk that something like what happened on October 7th could happen again. We wouldn't permit that in the United States. We wouldn't permit our people to have to evacuate the North, or not be able to live in their homes inside of the United States in our country. The Israeli government should not permit that threat to remain upon them either. And so whatever – however – the political solution is for governance in Gaza needs to have as the central thesis Israeli security.

REPORTER: Israel's tunnel warfare has uncovered a lot of connection between Hamas and UNWRA. What do you say to those who say that UNRWA's doing a great job in Gaza and should not be defunded?

POMPEO: So, I experienced this when I was CIA director. I mean, this is not news to me. I suppose the extent and scope is always just mind-boggling. UNWRA is an organization that failed to do its central mission. Too many of them were too deeply connected to Hamas. And as we did when I was a Secretary of State, our decision was that no longer could be the mechanism through which humanitarian assistance was provided to the people of Gaza. I regret that we had returned to that model. It is a failed model, and we ought not to go back in that direction. UNWRA has proven itself fundamentally incapable of doing what its task, what its mission set, was.

Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a press conference at site of Nova music festival massacre (Photo: ALL ISRAEL NEWS)

REPORTER: Would you talk about the surge in antisemitism around the world, the global surge – not just in the US, but in Europe

POMPEO: I'm afraid antisemitism has been with us a long time. And so, when I when I hear the “surge,” I think it may have revealed what already, sadly, may have been there. What happened on American campuses, in the leadership at some of our most prestigious universities in America, is both immoral and embarrassing. And I hope that the world collectively will do better. The fight against anti-Semitism is something that's been going on for a long, awfully long, time. We in the United States suffer it ourselves, as well. And we need to stamp it out everywhere we find it. It is part of our obligation as well. 

SUSAN POMPEO: I just want to say, for those of us of which there are millions who are so crushed – who were so crushed – on October 7th and continue to be and continue to stand with you, we feel helpless. And it's hard for us to know how to convey – especially to those personally affected, but to Jews everywhere – how much we care. And so, I will share with you a prayer that I've been saying, and I asked my Bible study friends to say also, for Israel. And it's Michael's namesake, Saint Michael, who happens to be perfectly so the patron saint of warriors. And the prayer goes along the lines that it is a battle between evil and good. And one of you, I think, said that, and I believe that wholeheartedly. And we must overcome as warriors, all of us in our corners of the world, we have to overcome this evil and not be afraid, be as courageous as we can be. Pray hard, and we must stamp it out. So, just know we're praying for you.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

All Israel
Receive latest news & updates
    A message from All Israel News
    Help us educate Christians on a daily basis about what is happening in Israel & the Middle East and why it matters.
    For as little as $5, you can support ALL ISRAEL NEWS, a non-profit media organization that is supported by readers like you.
    Donate to ALL ISRAEL NEWS
    Popular Articles
    Latest Stories