The incredible life of rumored Tillerson replacement and CIA director Mike Pompeo, a West Point valedictorian and Trump’s go-to source on North Korea

He graduated first in his class at West Point.

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He graduated first in his class at West Point.
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Yuri Gripas/Reuters

• Reports indicate the White House is seeking to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo

• Previously, he served in the US House of Representatives for six years.

• Pompeo graduated first in his class at West Point.

The White House is reportedly getting ready to oust Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Business Insider reported President Donald Trump plans to replace the former ExxonMobil CEO with CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton would then step in to helm the CIA.

Before becoming the head of the CIA, Pompeo represented Kansas in the House of Representatives from 2011 to 2017. He is a graduate of both West Point and Harvard Law School.

Here’s a look at Pompeo’s career, so far:


Pompeo was raised in in Orange County, California. He attended Los Amigos High School and played basketball for the varsity squad. “Mike was the type of guy who was just born smart,” childhood friend John Reed told the OC Register.

Source: The Washington Post , Forbes , The OC Register


Growing up, Pompeo said he was influenced by the works of Ayn Rand. He read “The Fountainhead” at the age of 15, according to The Washington Post. “One of the very first serious books I read when I was growing up was Atlas Shrugged, and it really had an impact on me,” he told Human Events.

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REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Source: The Washington Post , Forbes , The OC Register , Human Events


Pompeo left California to attend the US Military Academy at West Point. He majored in mechanical engineering and graduated first in his class in 1986.

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Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Source: Politico , The Hill, Newsweek


He served in the US Army, ultimately reaching the rank of captain. His service was predominantly spent “patrolling the Iron Curtain before the fall of the Berlin Wall,” according to his CIA bio.

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Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Source: Politico , CIA


He left the army and attended Harvard Law School, graduating in 1994. Pompeo was editor of the Harvard Law Review and worked as a research assistant for professor and former Vatican ambassador Mary Ann Glendon.

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Alex Wong / Getty Images

Source: Harvard Law Today


Upon graduating, he went to work for Washington firm Williams & Connolly, before leaving for the business world. As a law student, Pompeo had initially been “bent on going into politics,” according to Glendon. “When he went into business instead, I felt real regret to see yet another young person of great integrity and ability swerve from his original path,” she said.

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Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Source: Harvard Law Today , The Washington Post


Pompeo left law to found Thayer Aerospace in Wichita with some West Point classmates. The company has been since renamed Nex-Tech Aerospace and acquired by Gridiron Capital. Pompeo left Thayer Aerospace in 2006 and became president of oilfield equipment company Sentry International.

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Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Source: Gridiron Company , The Washington Post , The Wichita Eagle


He also served as a trustee of the conservative Flint Hills Public Policy Institute, which has since been renamed the Kansas Policy Institute, according to The Washington Post.

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Alex Wong/Getty Images

Source: The Washington Post


When it came time for the 2010 Kansas Republican primary for the 4th District Congressional seat, Pompeo decided to run. Glendon told the Harvard Law Bulletin her former assistant “… waited until he and his wife, Susan, had raised their son and assured a sound financial footing for the family.”

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Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Source: Vox, The Wichita Eagle , Harvard Law Bulletin


Pompeo told The Washington Post his business experience prompted him to run for public office. “I have run two small businesses in Kansas, and I have seen how government can crush entrepreneurism. That’s why I ran for Congress. It just so happens that there are a lot of people in south central Kansas who agree with me on that.”

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Yuri Gripas/Reuters

Source: The Washington Post


Pompeo also had some assistance from some allies back from his days at Thayer Aerospace. Koch Venture Capital had invested in his business, and Koch Industries became a major contributor throughout his political career. In 2016, Pompeo was the top recipient of Koch Industries’ contributions, receiving a total of $71,100 that year. Koch Industries and its employees contributed a total of $375,500 to Pompeo’s candidacies across his tenure in Congress.

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Eric Thayer/Reuters

Source: The Washington Post , Center for Responsive Politics


During the presidential election election, a Pompeo spokesperson said the Kansas representative would “support the nominee of the Republican Party because Hillary Clinton cannot be president of the United States.” After winning the presidency, the president-elect nominated Pompeo to take over the CIA on November 18, 2016. The Senate confirmed the nomination on January 23, 2017, and Pompeo was subsequently sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence. Trump also appointed the CIA director to his Cabinet.

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Alex Wong / Getty Images

Source: Business Insider , Reuters , McClatchy


Pompeo had an estimated net worth of $266,510 in 2016, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. McClatchy reported he earns a $185,100 annual salary as CIA director.

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Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Source: McClatchy , Center for Responsive Politics


In June, Pompeo told MSNBC that he frequently speaks to Trump about North Korea, saying, “I hardly ever escape a day at the White House without the President asking me about North Korea and how it is that the United States is responding to that threat.”

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KCNA/via REUTERS

Source: Business Insider


His tenure hasn’t been without controversy, though. When Pompeo told the audience at a national security summit that Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, the CIA released a statement clarifying his remarks: “The intelligence assessment with regard to Russian election meddling has not changed, and the director did not intend to suggest that it had.”

Source: Business Insider


If he does indeed take over the State Department, Pompeo may inherit an agency in chaos. According to the Guardian, the Trump administration is looking to cut the State Department’s budget by about 31%.

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REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Source: Reuters , The Guardian , The New York Times