Mike Pompeo: Showing Up

I’ve read Mike Pompeo’s excellent memoir Never Give an Inch. If I were to give the overall book a theme it’s an ode to showing up. The idea is to make the effort to be physically present where it counts.

A good example is Pompeo’s account of how he got to become President Trump’s most trusted advisor: he showed up at the briefings. As head of the Central Intelligence Agency, Pompeo showed up to Trump’s presidential daily briefs. Trump was not much of a reader. If he was to imbibe information, it had to be delivered orally. This insight allowed Pompeo to distinguish himself:

This time, I knew I needed to show up—and I probably never would have become secretary of state if I hadn’t made a habit of attending these briefings. I likely wound up spending more time with the president than did any other cabinet member in the first twelve months of our administration.

Whether out of distrust of the Agency or confidence in me, clearly the president wanted his CIA director to be the voice of the intelligence community’s products developed for him. So, most weekdays, I crossed the Potomac River from Virginia to present the president with the CIA’s best findings and recommendations for action.

No other senior official lasted as long as Pompeo in Trump world. This probably explains it.

Eric Shierman lives in Salem and is the author of We were winning when I was there.