Pompeo on talk of Senate bid: 'I have a very full plate as secretary of State'

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: 1,500 troops heading to Mideast to counter Iran | Trump cites Iran tensions to push through Saudi arms sale | Senate confirms Army, Navy chiefs before weeklong recess Senators say Trump using loophole to push through Saudi arms sale Trump to send 1,500 troops to Middle East to counter Iran MORE is responding to talk of a possible 2020 Senate bid, saying in a new interview that he has a "full plate" serving in President TrumpDonald John TrumpA better VA, with mental health services, is essential for America's veterans Pelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote Trump arrives in Japan to kick off 4-day state visit MORE's administration.

Pompeo told Fox News late Wednesday that he has been approached by "lots of folks" about the possibility of running to replace Sen. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsWomen's civil rights are not a state issue The Hill's 12:30 Report: Tough questions await Trump immigration plan Pat Robertson: Alabama 'has gone too far' with 'extreme' abortion law MORE (R-Kansas) in the next election cycle.

"Lots of folks have reached out to me and suggested I ought to do that," Pompeo said. "I have suggested to them that I have a very full plate as secretary of State, and I intend to keep doing this so long as President Trump will commit to it."

ADVERTISEMENT

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump orders more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions What if 2020 election is disputed? Immigration bills move forward amid political upheaval MORE (R-Ky.), Pompeo confirmed, was among those who had contacted him about the possibility of running to boost GOP chances of keeping the seat in 2020.

"I spoke to Senator McConnell once. He asked me if I’d think about it, and I told him I appreciated the phone call," Pompeo said.

"[E]very day I’m trying to make sure that I’m doing what President Trump wants me to do to keep America safe. That’s my singular focus," he added.

Other top Republicans, including Kris Kobach, have also been floated as potential contenders for the seat, though Pompeo would not endorse the former Kansas secretary of State when asked by Fox's Martha MacCallum about the prospect.

"Martha, I’m so far out of politics. I think it might even be a federal violation if I answered that question, so I’m going to just say I appreciate your interest," he responded

Pompeo has been seen by Republican strategists as a safe bet for maintaining control of Roberts's seat in 2020 as the GOP faces an uncertain future in the state after Kobach lost the governor's race last year.

“We lost a governor’s race. We lost a key House race for a seat that was held by Republicans for several terms. We can’t afford to head into November of 2020 worried about whether a Republican can hang onto the Senate seat in a Republican state like Kansas,” a Senate GOP strategist told The Hill early in January.

“If Mike Pompeo is the nominee in Kansas, the race comes off the map,” the strategist added at the time. “And, by the way, he would make a phenomenal senator.”