COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to headline a major gathering of Republicans in South Carolina this month as he considers a 2024 White House bid that could pit him against his onetime boss, former President Donald Trump.
Pompeo will speak Aug. 22 at the Faith & Freedom BBQ in Anderson, according to the host of the event, U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan.
The tenets of faith and freedom "are ingrained into the very fabric of our nation, and I am looking forward to celebrating them surrounded by veterans, first responders, and other patriotic Americans who make our country great!” Pompeo said in a written statement Tuesday provided to The Associated Press.
The fundraiser, which benefits Duncan's campaign, has long been a showcase for possible White House contenders, including South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, then-Vice President Mike Pence, Sens. Ted Cruz, Joni Ernst and Marco Rubio, and former U.N. Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.
According to Duncan, who represents South Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District, the event is the state’s largest annual gathering of Republicans, typically drawing more than 1,000 attendees.
“Mike Pompeo epitomizes service to country and community over self,” Duncan said, touting Pompeo’s “unwavering commitment to America first foreign policy and his willingness to stand up to adversaries like China.”
Last year, Pompeo headlined a fundraiser for the state Republican Party in South Carolina, home to the first presidential votes in the South. His super PAC, which has raised nearly $6 million, last month released a digital ad in South Carolina and Iowa — another early-voting state where he has been making appearances — touting religious freedoms.
Pompeo and Pence are among the former Trump administration officials attempting to establish themselves in the state as Trump continues to tease a 2024 bid. Pompeo, who served as CIA director and top diplomat, has remained on good terms with his former boss, continuing to defend him after the Jan. 6, 2021, siege of the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters.
Pence has made several recent visits to the state, including last year when he made his first public address since leaving office. Already this year, he has given commencement remarks at the Christian Columbia International University, spoken at a crisis pregnancy center fundraiser and outlined his policy vision for a “post-Roe” world.
Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP.