INDIANAPOLIS - Facing an array of global challenges and touting the administration's 'America First' policies, the nation's top diplomat spoke to a group of veterans assembled for the American Legion's national convention.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed a wide range of issues in his address, and in a one-on-one interview for this week's edition of IN Focus.
"We’re not apologizing for America anymore," said Pompeo in his address Tuesday morning. "America is an exceptional nation."
But the Trump administration's approach to foreign policy has also been met with criticism, with uncertainty lingering amidst an ongoing trade war with China.
"There's a lot of noise, lots of folks talking about different things, but our efforts are very focused. We know the things that China must do to open those markets and permit our companies to trade in a fair and reciprocal way," said Pompeo. "I served as a member of Congress from Kansas where we grow wheat and corn and all of things we do here in Indiana... and the focus in the administration is very plain. It's to get a good outcome for American workers and farmers."
We also asked whether Pompeo agreed with the President's pronouncement that Russia should be invited back to the G7 summit next year, an idea that's brought push back from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
"The President thinks that's what we should do. I work for the President. Of course we're going to work towards that end," said Sec. Pompeo.
Pompeo told us he felt the recent G7 summit was a success, and touted what he felt were some of the Trump administration's biggest successes in the global arena.
"I'm very confident that (the world) is a safer place today than it was when this administration took over," said Pompeo. "It's American leadership, a core belief that America is a force for good around the world that has permitted us to take down threats that were in North Korea, you'll remember we were on the brink of a really bad situation there and we're now continuing to work to denuclearize North Korea... the list of places where we've enhanced American security is long (and) I'm proud of what we've accomplished."
We also asked Pompeo about former Indiana senator Dan Coats, who recently stepped down as Director of National Intelligence, amidst reports that Coats and the President were not always on the same page, and that Coats thought his warnings about Russia were being watered down.
"Yeah it's just not true," said Pompeo. "He served America and Indiana as well. I think there just came a time where Dan decided for a host of reasons he would go on to the next chapter of his life."
Coats isn't the only former administration official to clash behind the scenes with the President and his approach. This past week, former defense secretary James Mattis issued a blistering op-ed in the Wall Street Journal,
"We all know that we're better than our current politics," said Gen. Mattis.