Pompeo: Decline of free speech on college campuses keeps me up at night

Pompeo: Decline of free speech on college campuses keeps me up at night

Former Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoNoem to travel to South Carolina for early voting event Poll: Trump leads 2024 GOP primary trailed by Pence, DeSantis Pence v. Biden on China: Competing but consistent visions MORE on Sunday blasted what he sees as censorship of speech and ideas on college campuses, calling it one of his biggest concerns.

Pompeo emphasized the importance of free speech while appearing to take a jab at cancel culture during an interview with John Catsimatidis on his radio show on WABC 770 AM.

"I get asked all the time what keeps you up at night," the former Trump administration official said, noting various issues he's worked on in the past including on Iran, North Korea and the Taliban.

"None of that scares me as much as what’s happening in our universities and on our campuses today," he said.

The former secretary of State and Central Intelligence Agency director said attacks on conservative mindsets at educational institutions is a major concern for him.

"The fact that we now are accusing people who are just saying things that are common sense about how to treat everybody equally and fairly have been accused of being racist," Pompeo said. "Those are dangerous things in a democracy."

Pompeo added, "They pose a staggering risk."

The former Trump administration official did not cite specific examples of such censorship in the interview.

Pompeo used the interview to also caution about Chinese efforts to "steal our intellectual property and … conduct influence operations at schools across America."

He previously spoke in December of "left-leaning" institutions being targeted by the Chinese Community Party, warning about Chinese security services attempting to recruit Chinese students and academics as spies.

Pompeo said Sunday it is crucial to push back against what he portrayed as threats to freedom of speech, arguing that the United States' status as a world leader is at risk unless America addresses the issue.

"If America is weak at home, our capacity to influence the world is diminished," he said. 

John Catsimatidis is an investor for The Hill.