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Pompeo seen as auditioning for 2024 on Israel trip while he organizes at home

November 20, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, center, arrives for a security briefing on Mount Bental in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, near the Israeli-Syrian border, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's groundbreaking trip to a West Bank settlement Thursday was meant to highlight the Trump administration's commitment to Israel. Instead, it reignited speculation that the top US diplomat's higher priority is his own political future.

Washington (CNN)Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's groundbreaking trip to a West Bank settlement Thursday was meant to highlight the Trump administration's commitment to Israel.

With just a few weeks left in this administration, Pompeo appears to be actively working toward political life after Trump, recently inviting at least one small group of Republicans to the meetings, including strategists and right-leaning reporters.

A source familiar with the coffee gatherings said that "as Mike Pompeo prepares to run, he wants to sit down with people in Republican circles he has not met, or he has not talked to in a while. "

Pompeo is "not done with the fight," said a source close to him at the State Department.

"Mike Pompeo is focused on doing his job as Secretary of State, and he has made no plans post January 21st period," the source close to Pompeo added.

"He is keeping his cards close to his chest," said a second source who has worked with Pompeo in the past.

Pompeo also assiduously courted conservative media, often in Kansas markets, and used on one official 2019 visit to the state to meet with billionaire Charles Koch, his longtime political backer, to discuss a Senate run there, according to the Wall Street Journal.

One former senior State Department official said they saw Pompeo's comments on religion "as largely political, simply because evangelicals are an important part of the President's political base. "

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