COLUMBIA — Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be the keynote speaker at the South Carolina Republican Party's annual Silver Elephant fundraising gala, marking another appearance in an early-voting presidential primary state that may prompt more speculation about his political future.
In a statement announcing the July 30 dinner, S.C. GOP Chairman Drew McKissick said Pompeo "is an excellent champion for our conservative cause, and has proven that here at home and on the world stage."
"We look forward to welcoming him to the Palmetto State, hearing his story, and celebrating past and future Republican successes," McKissick said.
After spending almost three years as America's top diplomat under former President Donald Trump, Pompeo launched a new political group in June and told The Post and Courier he planned to campaign for Republicans in South Carolina ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.
Pompeo specifically cited Gov. Henry McMaster and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott as two of the Palmetto State Republicans he intended to support.
The Silver Elephant gala, which will return to full capacity this year after holding a smaller event during the coronavirus pandemic, has hosted a litany of high-profile politicians in its 54-year history, several of whom have gone on to run for president.
Asked by The Post and Courier in June whether he is thinking about running for president in 2024, Pompeo insisted he is only focused for now on the 2022 midterms.
"I’m confident that after 2022 I’ll stay in the fight," Pompeo said. "With what role, in what capacity that will be in, there’s no way to know."
Before becoming secretary of state, Pompeo served as director of the CIA and as a congressman from his home state of Kansas.
Pompeo will be the fourth former Trump administration official in a row to speak at the S.C. GOP's top fundraising dinner.
Last year's event featured former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who is now running for governor in Arkansas. Before that was former Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, an ex-congressman from South Carolina, and North Carolina's Mark Meadows, who was then a congressman but would go on to become chief of staff.