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 PompeoCoronavirus response reveals deep fractures in global partnerships Hillicon Valley: Apple rolls out coronavirus screening app, website | Pompeo urged to crack down on coronavirus misinformation from China | Senators push FTC on price gouging | Instacart workers threaten strike COVID-19 intensifies the case for blacklisting Khalifa Haftar  MORE on Sunday defended President TrumpDonald John TrumpHealth insurers Cigna, Humana waive out-of-pocket costs for coronavirus treatment Puerto Rico needs more federal help to combat COVID-19 Fauci says April 30 extension is 'a wise and prudent decision' 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 TapperCNN's Jake Tapper spars with Trump on Twitter: 'Utter nonsense' Biden says he has not been tested for coronavirus: I've had 'no symptoms' Biden says Democratic convention should not be canceled amid pandemic 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 KinzingerLawmakers urge EU to sanction Putin associate for election interference Blagojevich calls himself a 'Trumpocrat,' praises Trump after release from prison Sanders slams Trump pardons as part of 'broken and racist criminal justice system' 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'