EXCLUSIVE – Former CIA Director and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spotlights his clandestine 2018 trip to North Korea as he met for the first time with the totalitarian regime’s dictator, Kim Jong Un, in the first chapter of his soon-to-be released memoir “Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love.”
The new book by Pompeo, an Army veteran and congressman from Kansas who served as the spy agency’s chief and America’s top diplomat during President Donald Trump’s administration, will be published by HarperCollins next Tuesday, on Jan. 24.
The memoir – which the publishers say shows how Pompeo “spearheaded the Trump Administration’s most significant foreign policy breakthroughs” – comes ahead of a potential 2024 Republican presidential campaign by Pompeo, who’s said he’s seriously considering a White House run.
“It wasn’t the Easter weekend I had planned,” Pompeo wrote in an excerpt shared first with Fox News on Tuesday. “My clandestine mission began on Good Friday, March 30, 2018, as I departed Andrews Air Force Base. My destination: Pyongyang, North Korea. I was headed to one of the darkest places on earth to meet with Chairman Kim Jong Un, its darkest inhabitant.”
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“The mission was a complete secret, known only to a few. My objective: correct the failed efforts of the past that had not eliminated North Korea’s nuclear weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and had, in fact, led to the current heightened threat,” Pompeo wrote.
Pompeo, who was CIA director at the time of the secret mission, gave a firsthand account of his arrival in North Korea’s capital city and his first glimpse of Kim Jong Un.
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“This small, sweating, evil man tried to break the ice with all the charm you would expect from a mass murderer. ‘Mr. Director,’ he opened, ‘I didn’t think you’d show up. I know you’ve been trying to kill me.’ My team and I had prepared for this moment, but ‘a joke about assassination’ was not on the list of ‘things he may say when he greets you.’ But I was, after all, director of the CIA, so maybe his bon mot made sense,” Pompeo wrote.
“I decided to lean in with a little humor of my own: ‘Mr. Chairman, I’m still trying kill you.’ In the picture taken seconds after that exchange, Kim is still smiling. He seemed confident that I was kidding,” Pompeo wrote.
Writing a book is a rite of passage for many potential and actual presidential candidates. Former Vice President Mike Pence, who’s likely to launch a White House run, is continuing a nationwide book tour for his new autobiography, “So Help Me God.”
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“If You Want Something Done: Leadership Lessons from Bold Women,” the latest book from another potential GOP White House hopeful, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, was published in October. Haley served as ambassador to the United Nations during the Trump administration.
And as Fox News first reported two months ago, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida will chronicle his life in public service in a new book that will publish in late February. The autobiography by DeSantis, who was overwhelmingly re-elected in November, is titled “The Courage to Be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Revival.”
Following the end of the Trump administration, Pompeo spent time crisscrossing the country on behalf of fellow Republicans who ran in 2022 midterm elections. The Fox News contributor’s travels included numerous stops in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada – the first four states to vote in the GOP presidential nominating calendar.
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Pompeo’s political action committee last year went up with ads in the early voting nominating states, another sign he’s seriously mulling a White House bid. Asked in an interview with Fox News Digital in November about his 2024 plans, Pompeo answered that “we are doing the things that one would do to be ready to make such an announcement and then to engage with the American people on the ideas that we believe matter.”