By Stacy Martin, Managing Editor
Usually it’s the journalists who ask the questions.
But this week, it was Sen. James Lankford who played reporter at a campaign stop at Oklahoma Christian University, where he appeared as part of a campaign stop with former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Pompeo has endorsed Lankford for re-election.
“I‘m going to take this opportunity to just pepper you with questions,” Lankford said to Pompeo, who was Secretary of State under President Donald Trump. And that’s what he did.
The war in Afghanistan. Communist China. North Korean Chairman Kim Jung-un. Venezuela. The Trump Administration. The Biden Administration. Oil and gas. All those topics and more came up during the question-and-answer session between the two men.
And Faith. That topic is never far either man’s mind.
Pompeo said he always prayed in the elevator on the way up to his office.
“I am an evangelical Christian,” Lankford said at the event, held Wednesday (August 18).
“I was born again and received the forgiveness of Jesus Christ for my many sins,” he said, adding that he and Pompeo are both supporters of the Constitution’s guarantee of religious freedom.
Regarding foreign affairs, both men said they believed the troop pullout in Afghanistan was incorrectly handled by the Biden administration.
In nearby China, the United States should be concerned about its intentions, which Pompeo described as aggressive.
“The Communist party in China believes this is a nation in decline and that we have a weak president,” Pompeo said, adding that he believes China could also become more aggressive.
“I worry about China more than any other place. They believe deeply in the Communist theories and they believe they can walk all over the United States,’’ Pompeo said.
Pompeo said a highlight of his tenure occurred when he went to talk to North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un to convince him to stop building his nuclear arsenal.
Pompeo said towards the end of his visit he told the North Korean dictator that President Donald Trump would expect him to come home with three American hostages North Korea was holding at the time. The meeting ended shortly thereafter.
Pompeo said he was painfully aware of what had happened to Otto Warmbier, the American hostage who had been released by North Korea in a vegetative state, and who died shortly thereafter.
Pompeo was at the airport, stepping out onto the tarmac when a van pulled up.
Out stepped the three American hostages in good health.
President Trump was so elated that he directed Pompeo to fly them to Washington, D.C. first so he could welcome them home.
Pompeo’s Oklahoma visit to boost Lankford included a stop Wednesday morning in Tulsa, at the University of Tulsa.
Oklahoma’s junior senator, Lankford is seeking reelection to a second six-year term in the upper chamber of the U.S. Congress.
Lankford has been a force in Oklahoma politics for 11 years. He ran for the Fifth District congressional seat in 2010, leading the primary narrowly against a field of experienced politicians., and going on to win the GOP nomination and the general election comfortably. He served two terms in the U.S. House.
When U.S. Senator Tom Coburn resigned for health reasons in 2014, Lankford ran to fill the last two years of Coburn’s term. He garnered the GOP nomination easily, winning the primary easily over a large field, then winning the general election with more than two-thirds of the popular vote.
In 2016, Lankford again prevailed easily to garner a full six-year term.