Pompeo defends Trump's invitation of Taliban to Camp David, citing 'obligation to do everything we can'

Pompeo defends Trump's invitation of Taliban to Camp David, citing 'obligation to do everything we can'
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Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump heads to California Pence says US is 'locked and loaded' to defend allies US-Iran next moves — Déjà vu of Obama administration mistakes? MORE on Sunday defended President TrumpDonald John TrumpBusiness, ballots and battling opioids: Why the Universal Postal Union benefits the US Sanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth MORE's decision to invite a Taliban representative to Camp David for peace talks with Afghanistan's president. 

Pompeo told CNN's Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperO'Rourke responds to Buttigieg's gun criticism: 'That calculation and fear is what got us here in the first place' O'Rourke's debate moment reignites gun debate on Sunday shows Cicilline: O'Rourke's AR-15 comment 'doesn't help' MORE on "State of the Union" that the administration has "an obligation to do everything we can." 

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"The president believed that we could further that, that we could further America's national interest by having conversations with the people that have the capacity to actually deliver," Pompeo added. 

Tapper asked Pompeo if he personally had any issue with inviting the Taliban to Camp David.

“I can't help but think that if a Democratic president had talked about having the Taliban come to Camp David to negotiate a peace process that was not already a done deal that you, as a congressman, as a soldier, as a veteran, as a West Point graduate, that you would be rather upset,” the CNN host said.

"I've been fully supportive of this effort, the direction that we have taken," Pompeo responded. 

Trump announced late Saturday he had canceled a planned secret meeting with leaders of the Taliban and Afghanistan's president at Camp David, saying he had called off negotiations with the insurgent group after Taliban leadership claimed credit for a deadly attack in Kabul.

Politicians across the aisle questioned Trump's choice to have the insurgent organization's leaders meet at the U.S. venue just days ahead of the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. 

Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerBolton returns to political group after exiting administration Overnight Defense: Trump ousts Bolton in shocker | Fallout, reaction from GOP senators | Senate spending talks in chaos | Dems eye vote to nix Trump border emergency The Hill's 12:30 Report: Bolton out as national security adviser MORE (R-Ill.) was one politician to call out the president's plan. 

"Never should leaders of a terrorist organization that hasn't renounced 9/11 and continue in evil be allowed in our great country. NEVER. Full stop," he tweeted.

Pompeo said on Sunday that the U.S. is looking for "proof" that the Taliban has the "capacity to actually deliver" on its commitments.  

"Make no mistake about it. We will continue to punish," he added. "We will continue to protect the American people."

During a separate interview on NBC, Pompeo noted Camp David’s history in peace negotiations, “sometimes with some pretty bad actors.”

"The president ultimately made the decision that if we could get that, if we could get commitments and then put in place a verification regime that would give us confidence that we could observe that those commitments were being honored, that it was a useful effort to try and get all of those parties in one place so that we could have serious conversation," he said.

Read more from The Hill:

Pompeo: Taliban talks are dead 'for the time being'