Pompeo’s loyalty should be to truth



November 14, 2019 - 10:09 AM

Mike Pompeo, a fellow Kansan, is right in the middle of the biggest issue in the world.

We’ve long admired Mr. Pompeo’s intellect and his energy. We could see long ago that he was likely to be very successful. We figured he would represent Kansas very well.

We’ll find out fairly soon if we can still trust him. At the moment, it doesn’t look very good.

Mr. Pompeo, a Wichita businessman and lawyer, once represented Kansas in Congress. He is currently the U.S. Secretary of State. That means he’s the highest-ranking diplomat in the country, in charge of the U.S. diplomatic corps across the globe. That includes U.S. interaction with Ukraine — and that’s why he’s front and center in the biggest story in the world.

It turns out that he was on the phone as his boss, President Donald Trump, was talking to the Ukrainian president in a crucial call. There’s no question that President Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate his political rival, Joe Biden, and Mr. Biden’s son. There’s also no question that Mr. Trump held up millions of dollars of aid to Ukraine.

There’s also been plenty of testimony by participants and witnesses in recent days that the two were directly linked — in other words, that Mr. Trump held up U.S. aid to Ukraine as leverage to get that country to do him political favors. Most recently, the well-respected career diplomat who served as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine testified that she felt threatened by Mr. Trump to carry out that agenda.

Mr. Pompeo, who was in Manhattan this fall to give a Landon Lecture, has thus far attempted to block officials under him from testifying to Congress about this matter. He has not defended his own appointees from attack by Mr. Trump.

Mr. Pompeo has also recently supported Mr. Trump’s call for an investigation into a discredited, partisan theory that it was Ukraine, not Russia, who interfered in the 2016 presidential campaign. That’s despite the fact that Mr. Pompeo knows of the solid evidence, including from U.S. intelligence, that it was Russia.

We understand fully that Mr. Pompeo works for President Trump. He ought to be loyal.

But his real loyalty is to truth, justice and the American way, to borrow a phrase.

With Congress pursuing a full-on, public impeachment inquiry now, we are about to find out whether those two loyalties were in conflict, and which way he has chosen to go.

For the sake of Mr. Pompeo, and for the sake of the country, we’ll hope he has made the right choices.