Mike Pompeo, a son of another square state in America’s heartland, was in North Dakota recently. He was the keynote speaker at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference. Pompeo graduated first in his class at West Point, led an oil field service company, was elected to the U.S. House four times from Kansas, and became CIA director and secretary of state under President Donald Trump. By any measure, he is an impressive figure.

Pompeo brought a positive message of the importance of America’s energy independence to 2,650 attendees of the conference, many of whom make up an industry responsible for over half of the taxes paid in our entire state. He told me that it was “unambiguously clear that American energy and the capacity of America to generate energy for export, sell it to our friends in the world and deny our adversaries the capacity to sell to bad guys, made my job a heck of a lot easier." He came to “talk about how important what's going on here in North Dakota is to American national security.”

Was the recent Russian cyberattack on a major gasoline pipeline a wakeup call for American consumers? Pompeo said, “The fact is American energy is an absolute imperative we consume in every way. You know, people think about gasoline in the cars. They think about electricity in their homes. But we forget the clothes that we're wearing, all the things that were made from petrochemicals. They come ultimately from base source products that are produced right here in places like North Dakota. I don't think the American people always think about that or get how deeply ingrained, how central to their way of life the American energy producer is. And, you know, if it takes something like this to wake people up, that's unfortunate.”

Pompeo is a happy warrior who relishes his role as a Sunday school teacher as much as his relationship with world leaders and the task he had implementing the America First agenda. He speaks fluently of the threat to America from the Communists Chinese Party. He winces at the current reality of the Biden administration's appeasement of Iran or the weakness directed to the world’s biggest threats.

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I asked him what should keep us at night: “The biggest threat to the United States is from within. Our founding ideas matter. If we walk away from those and adopt a woke understanding of the world, America will look like a very, very different place for our kids and grandkids. The greatest challenge abroad is the Chinese Communist Party. ... It is very focused on changing the nature of the relationships in the world and certainly the nature between China and the U.S. If we don't push back against it, this will not end well for the United States of America.”

And he places the blame for the spread of the coronavirus on the Chinese Communist Party: “We saw a massive, instantaneous cover up, disappearing doctors, disappearing journalists. They didn't want anybody to know what had taken place where this Wuhan virus actually began. Those are all signs that lead me to believe it is enormously likely that this virus leaked out of the Wuhan Institute of Virology and then spread around the world to kill millions and millions of people.”

Much of what he says sounds like the strong, necessary words we often heard from the 45th president of the United States. But how Pompeo says it, might just be what America needs in its next president. He is presidential timber.

Scott Hennen hosts the statewide radio program “What’s On Your Mind?” On AM 1100 “The Flag”, KFYR AM 550, AM 1090 KTGO “The Flag” and AM 1460 KLTC. Email him at ScottH@FlagFamily.com

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.