OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo strayed from his prepared speech a bit Monday to address the elephant in the room: a potential return to Kansas politics.
Pompeo delivered the keynote address Monday at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit at the Sheraton Overland Park Hotel. The event, organized by the State Department, is in advance of the full summit in the Netherlands in June.
Monday’s speech represented Pompeo’s first official visit to the metro since becoming Secretary of State. And it rekindled speculation that the former Kansas congressman is considering a run for statewide office in the near future.
“As I get older I get smarter about not answering that question,” Pompeo said to loud laughter from the audience.
Pompeo’s been mentioned as a potential candidate dating back to early January, when Republican Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts announced he would retire at the end of his term in 2020.
On Monday, Pompeo deflected that speculation, at one point even joking that he would continue to serve in President Donald Trump’s cabinet until he was notified that he had been fired — on Twitter.
“I’m going to be there until he Tweets me out of office,” Pompeo said to even more laughter, “which I’m not counting on, at least today.”
In his final remarks on stage, however, Pompeo appeared to leave the door slightly open when he was asked where he sees himself in five years.
“I don’t know. I’d love to get back to Kansas and start a small business again,” Pompeo said. “It’s home for Susan and me. But goodness knows what the Lord will bring, and we’ll just keep working and stay tuned, and we’ll all find out.”