Mike Pompeo, the former US Secretary of State, has stated that he found Chinese President Xi Jinping to be the "most unpleasant" among the many world leaders he met in his capacity. In his recently published book, "Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love," Pompeo writes about his interactions with Xi and his perceptions of the Chinese leader.
Pompeo portrays Xi as "dour" and a "quintessential Communist apparatchik" in the book. He writes that Xi's demeanor was serious and lacking in humor, and that he never saw an unforced smile from the Chinese leader. The former Secretary of State describes Xi as heavy in abstract thoughts and light on the topics at hand, and always eager to impose his views, even while pretending to listen to others. Pompeo also mentions that Xi talked in "hollow tones" and was always searching for words and proverbs of questionable clarity.
"Personally, I thought Xi was dour. While Putin can be funny and mirthful, even while being evil, Xi was not so serious as dead-eyed. I never once saw an unforced smile," Pompeo wrote.
"I also found Xi a quintessential Communist apparatchik: heavy in the abstract, light on the issues under discussion, and always eager to impose his views, even while he pretends to be listening to you. He fit the psychological profile of an East German or Soviet Communist I came to study during my Army days," he added.
The former Secretary of State has a personal connection with China, having run a small business with an operation in Shanghai in the early 2000s. Despite this, he writes in his book that the American model of engagement with China has emboldened the regime and its utter disdain for basic human dignity. Pompeo also mentions that he still loves the Chinese people and is saddened by the regime's treatment of them.
Pompeo describes his first meeting with Xi and his initial impression of the Chinese leader. He writes that Xi was sizing him and the Trump team up, having already met with President Trump at Mar-a-Lago. Pompeo was determined to impose accountability for the Covid-19 crisis and to tell the truth, despite the CCP's unhappiness with him. He held a press conference on March 25th, where he criticized the party's decision to hide the looming global disaster, and believes his harsh words influenced Trump's scheduled call with Xi the next evening.
Pompeo writes that during the call with Xi, the Chinese leader railed against him and tried to get him fired.
"I joined the call from a secure location, while the President was at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It started off cordially, as Xi offered Eastern medicines that he assured us would stem the symptoms of COVID-19, if Trump needed them. Yet Xi's real mission was to get me fired," Pompeo wrote.
"He railed against me: Pompeo has defamed the Chinese people. Pompeo is antagonistic and a pugilist without reason. Pompeo is risking the trade deal we signed two months ago. Pompeo is immature and jeopardises all we've built together. I'm sure that he knew I was on the call, so I admired his directness, if not his objective," he added.
According to Pompeo, soon after the call, Trump called him and said: "My Mike, that f--ing guy hates you!".
In the book, Pompeo writes that at the height of the Covid-19 crisis, Xi threatened to stop sending Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to America if it continued to call for accountability from Beijing. Pompeo writes that the United States was still trying to understand the crisis and that President Trump made the tough call of putting America first, which meant not jeopardizing its ability to obtain potentially life-saving equipment from China.
Despite this, Pompeo admires Xi's directness, if not his objective. Overall, Pompeo portrays Xi as a serious and unpleasant leader who is representative of the Communist regime in China. The book provides insight into Pompeo's personal experiences and perceptions of the Chinese leader and the Communist regime in China.