QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, welcome back to Washington Watch.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Tony, it’s great to be with you today, and thanks for having me on the show.
QUESTION: Well, this was another major step by the Trump administration to stand for the sanctity of human life and quite a significant step in sending a message not only in how we spend our money but in what we prioritize and what we advocate for.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Tony, I think that’s right. President Trump has been unambiguous in his defense of making sure that every unborn child gets to live their life and that no taxpayer money should ever go towards any abortion at any time, and we put together a series of policies that have expanded on the Mexico City Policy, laid down, as you said, in the early 1980s. But we identified a couple places where we could do even better in ensuring that our dollars were going only to those services that were appropriate and not going towards abortion or abortion-related services.
And so today I announced the administration’s policy. It’s a little arcane, but suffice it to say there were gaps, there were places where taxpayer dollars could, through subcontracting or through partnerships, end up in places that the American taxpayers don’t want them to go; that is, in supporting abortion. And we today have put in place a policy that will reduce the risk that that will ever happen.
QUESTION: Now, Mr. Secretary, we’re talking about a sizeable amount of money. About $9 billion or more goes to foreign NGOs that provide health services. This does not in any way restrict money in terms of reducing the amount of money, I should say. This actually will direct more money to healthcare and related causes because none of that money will go to abortion.
SECRETARY POMPEO: That’s right. No, Tony, President Trump has made clear this is not in any way an effort to reduce – indeed, just the opposite – the access to healthcare for women and for global health issues. President Trump has made real promises about this, and we will continue to honor them.
What we don’t want is that money being used for ill – for purposes of abortion. That takes money to end lives that should go to promoting health issues. And so this policy, in fact, ensures that the risk that any taxpayer would have to underwrite this deeply immoral activity – takes that risk down while making sure that we continue to provide U.S. dollars to those places where we fund foreign NGOs to deliver healthcare for those who truly do need it all around the world.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, if I can borrow from Scripture for just a moment. It talks about where our heart is, the treasure is going to be there, that where we put our money is a reflection of where our heart is. And I have to say that this is a sea change, not just this decision, but this obviously is fulfilling that decision by the President to expand Mexico City back as soon as he took office in 2017. But we’re making – as I said at the beginning of this, this is more than just about where we place our money. It is – it’s an indication of our priorities as a country, and in particular this administration.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Tony, as Secretary of State, my mission is to execute our values set as laid out by President Trump, who has made clear the expectation that American taxpayer dollars would never go to harm the unborn. And this is further evidence of our commitment, of our moral understanding of the world.
And to your point, the dollars follow that. And so we never want to allow these resources to go to things that are inconsistent with our morality, our values set, and President Trump has urged every Cabinet member to make sure that that’s the case, and today the State Department was able to take a set of steps that will further effectuate this commitment to the unborn.
QUESTION: You’re listening to Washington Watch. I’m your host, Tony Perkins. So glad to have you with us on this Tuesday afternoon. My guest, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, discussing a major announcement this morning to enforce the Mexico City Policy to the broadest extent possible. What will be the effect of this for those NGOs that do not want to comply? What will be the enforcement mechanism?
SECRETARY POMPEO: Tony, what we’ve found as we’ve put the Mexico City Policy back in place and expanded it is that most of the foreign NGOs will comply; they will recognize this is U.S. policy, U.S. law, and they’ll do right. For those that don’t, we will deny them access to resources. We will not allow them to continue to take U.S. taxpayer dollars and use them for these purposes that are inconsistent with the administration’s policy and with federal law.
So we’ve seen that in foreign NGOs, we’ve seen it with certain multilateral organizations, and President Trump has made clear where we see it, we will stop allowing that money to flow. And so the enforcement mechanism will be simply to say that you can no longer have access to these federal taxpayer resources.
My expectation is that foreign NGOs will comply with this; they will do their level best to acknowledge this policy and the law and try and comply. That’s what we have found so far. We have now communicated what our expectation is with respect to subcontractors for foreign NGOs, and now moneys that flow through OAS, the Organization of American States as well. And I am confident that most of the foreign NGOs will do their level best to comply, and where they don’t, we’ll ensure that they no longer have access to American taxpayer money.
QUESTION: Well, Mr. Secretary, I think I can say this on behalf of pro-life Americans: We’re grateful for this administration, for your leadership, and in protecting the unborn but also sending a message to the world. And not only on this issue of the sanctity of human life, but you have led out – and we talked about this previously on the program – on religious freedom as a top American priority.
And these types of decisions, literally because of America’s influence, literally changes the landscape of the world. These are important decisions, and I know they don’t come without pushback and without political risk. But please, I think you should know that the American public, the pro-life American public, deeply appreciates your leadership.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Tony, thank you. We think moral clarity matters an awful lot. President Trump has been very clear that we need to speak about protecting the unborn in every activity that we engaged in. And so thank you for – thank you for those kind words.
QUESTION: Before I let you go, Mr. Secretary, you made a historic trip just recently, last week, to Israel and an historic announcement regarding the Golan Heights, a very significant development in the Middle East.
SECRETARY POMPEO: As a former tank officer who’d had the chance to study these famous battles on the Golan Heights, it was personally amazing for me to be in Israel when the President announced his decision to recognize Israel’s decision to exercise sovereignty over the Golan Heights. This was the reality on the ground. This was important for Israel’s national security. And so I was really proud to be a part of the process that led to the President’s decision this week to recognize the facts on the ground there and to recognize that this was necessary in order to preserve Israel’s security.
QUESTION: A major decision. And I’ll have to say this, Mr. Secretary. I know you were a tank commander. I’ve stood there at the Golan Heights and looked at some of the shells of the tanks. I was an anti-tank gunner, so I was on the opposite side of that. (Laughter.) Never wanted to be in one of those metal frames.
SECRETARY POMPEO: I never wanted to encounter you or your kind. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Tony, wonderful to be with you, sir.
QUESTION: Thank you so much. And again, we commend you for your leadership and the President as well. Thank you so much.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, Tony. Thanks for your time today. So long.