Jul. 24—Rep. Kevin McCarthy brought former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to speak to a sold-out crowd of 500 Republicans gathered for the annual Lincoln Day Dinner at the Bakersfield Marriott at the Convention Center Friday night.
At the top of the agenda for the evening was the recall of California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Pompeo declined to endorse any of the candidates running to replace Newsom.
"We're going to make sure that Gavin Newsom's not the governor," Pompeo said in a news conference held before the dinner and speech.
But Pompeo has also been crisscrossing the country with the message that the country has been headed off-track since the Trump administration left the White House. He said he's worried about inflation, and the rising cost of gasoline and basic staples.
"This impacts everybody, especially those who are in the most difficult situations," Pompeo said. "We know how to fix it: Elect good leadership in 2022 in the House of Representatives and the Senate. And then in 2024, we'll get conservative leadership back in the White House and get this country headed back in the right direction."
Pompeo declined to answer questions about the 2024 presidential election. He said he is focused on the 2022 midterms with his political action committee, CAV PAC, whose name references his time as a young cavalry officer in the Army.
He said he had met with people in Kern County who had impressed him.
"This is a group of fired-up, motivated people who want to take their country back," Pompeo said. "I'm happy to be out here to get a chance to hear them."
The Kern County Republican Party postponed the annual event traditionally held on Lincoln Day in February until now.
"It's the first time folks have been together in so long," said Cathy Abernathy, the head of the Kern County Republican Party.
"Mr. Pompeo is the biggest guest we've probably had," Abernathy said. "We appreciate Kevin McCarthy with his influence being able to bring him out here."
Pompeo praised the oil industry for providing jobs, but he said that Newsom and President Biden were wrecking a domestic industry that has become cleaner and more efficient.
"The future is going to be great, but if Biden stays in place, he'll crush it," he said.
McCarthy blasted Biden for supporting a pipeline in Russia and nixing one domestically.
Pompeo said that the last time he had been in Kern County was long ago when he had been selling oil field equipment. This time, he got a chance to try some of Kern County's best: Mexicali, Dewar's, pistachios and table grapes.
"It was killer good, fantastic good," he said.