SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. -- US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited the Sumter County Fairgrounds Thursday afternoon following a stop in Miami, touting the administration’s foreign policy.
A crowd of several hundred people, including students and many from the Villages, crowded into a building. Many donned Trump hats, pins, shirts and signs eager to hear Pompeo speak, invited by the Sumter County Teen Court.
“My mission is really, really simple: To make the world safer so we don’t have to send our young men and women off to fight,” Pompeo told them at the start of his speech.
He said the US is loved around the world, including among protesters in Iran and Hong Kong.
“The good news is in spite of what you may read elsewhere that people don’t like America, everywhere I go, I see a deep love for our country and for you,” he said.
He explained for its freedom and religious liberties.
“We know there’s work to do. Eighty-three percent of the world’s population lives where religious freedom doesn’t exist or is challenged,” he said.
Pompeo also talked about democracy in Venezuela, moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, the trade deal with China the strength of the economy and defended the killing of Iran’s general earlier this month.
“I have to tell you, I was part of that decision making process. Lots could have potentially gone wrong but President Trump made the courageous decision. We’re going to protect America, we’re going to defend Americans. We’re going to reduce the risk here to each and every one of you, we’re going to make America safer and we did just that,” Pompeo said.
“It was short and to the point. It was very uplifting to the people there. It was calming in speaking to a lot of the people there. What they wanted to hear was straight from his mouth because he’s traveled all these countries,” said political analyst Susan MacManus.
The speech appeared well received with applauded throughout.
“He spoke a lot about hot spots of the world, the Middle East, but he also talked about places where America was better received than many people thought,” MacManus said.
Afterwards, people in the crowd said they were pleased with what they heard.
“It was too short for me. I wanted to hear him longer and longer but everything he said was point on. Excellent, great speech,” said Jeannie Hays after listening.
“It seems like every time you turn around, they’re talking about how everybody hates us which is not true which is a good point he brought up,” said Ed Sullivan.
“From the reaction, I think everyone's really pleased with what the president is doing. I know we are and we feel that every move he makes is the right move and people may not like the way he talks but it's the way we think the common people that live in America support America,” said Ronnie Sullivan.