U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plans to visit Wichita this week, stoking further speculation about his political future in the state.
The former Kansas congressman’s visit comes as he continues to deal with the House impeachment probe into President Donald Trump that has resulted in testimony by high-ranking State Department officials. Pompeo is also handling the fallout from Trump’s abrupt decision to pull U.S. troops from Syria.
A White House official and U.S. Rep. Ron Estes confirmed the Thursday visit.
Pompeo’s visit is connected to the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, a panel that advises the federal government to improve skills-based education. Estes’ office confirmed that the panel will hold a roundtable discussion on workforce development that will feature Pompeo and Estes.
The panel is chaired by Ivanka Trump, an advisor to the president and Trump’s daughter, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. WSU Tech President Sheree Utash also sits on the panel.
Pompeo and Ivanka Trump will visit the WSU Tech National Center for Aviation Training, where they will receive a tour and hold a roundtable discussion. Pompeo and Trump will also visit Textron Aviation.
“As a member of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Worker and Family Support, I look forward to hosting Ivanka Trump in Wichita to further the Trump administration’s focus on growing our economy,” Estes said in a statement. “With more job openings than job seekers in this booming economy, Wichita State University is a national leader in critical workforce development programs needed now more than ever. I’m proud WSU Tech and our community will once again be highlighted for these accomplishments on the national stage.”
Ivanka Trump’s Wichita visit comes in the same month as her visit to Kansas City, a potential sign the administration is on a charm offensive in the Midwest. Trump led a discussion about child care while in Kansas City.
For Pompeo, the visit will mark his fourth trip to Kansas this year. Kansas Republicans have wondered throughout the year whether the nation’s chief diplomat could eventually launch a campaign for U.S. Senate to replace Sen. Pat Roberts, who is not running for re-election.
Pompeo, who used to live in Wichita, has batted away questions about whether he will run by saying he plans to serve as secretary for as long as Trump wants him. But his potential candidacy continues to loom over the Senate race.
Earlier this month, Alan Cobb, a Republican with long-standing ties to Pompeo, decided against a Senate campaign of his own after months of deliberation. The announcement from Cobb, who leads the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, reignited speculation surrounding Pompeo.
Kansas City Star reporter Bryan Lowry and McClatchy DC reporter Michael Wilner contributed to this story.