Pompeo’s comment comes after he appeared last week at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Fla., where a crowd of potential White House hopefuls gave fiery speeches in support of Trump’s agenda — providing a preview of what could become the 2024 Republican presidential primary.

In his own address, Pompeo touted his record as Trump’s top diplomat and promoted the previous administration’s “America First” foreign policy. Among the other prominent Republicans who delivered remarks were Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Hawley of Missouri and Rick Scott of Florida; Govs. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Kristi Noem of South Dakota; and Donald Trump Jr.

But hanging over the speakers’ White House ambitions was the presence of the former president himself who appeared at the conference Sunday and offered no indication that he would sit out the 2024 race.

Trump admonished by name the Republican lawmakers who voted to impeach him in January for inciting the insurrection at the Capitol, and he repeated the falsehood that he won the 2020 election. Teasing a 2024 campaign, Trump said of Democrats: “I may even decide to beat them for a third time.”

The former president’s vise-grip on the party has been underscored in recent days by remarks from some high-ranking Republicans who have grown more critical of him since the Capitol siege. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who called Trump “morally and practically responsible” for the attack, said last week that he would support him if he were the GOP’s next nominee for president.

Even Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia — whom Trump has repeatedly accused of failing to counter nonexistent cases of mass voter fraud that he claims contributed to his 2020 loss in the Southern battleground — said Wednesday that he would “absolutely” back the former president if he emerges as Republicans’ 2024 pick.

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