WilliamsonCountyGOP_Pompeo_2021-15 Mike Pompeo

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to supporters at a Williamson County GOP event in Franklin on August 7, 2021.

With his sights set on supporting conservatives in the upcoming midterm elections next year, Mike Pompeo — former CIA director and secretary of state — rallied in Franklin on Saturday at an event organized by the Williamson County Republican Party.

While Pompeo was arguably the event's largest draw for local conservatives, other notable guests included Gov. Bill Lee, Sen. Marsha Blackburn, Rep. Mark Green and others. While unable to attend the event in person, Sen. Bill Hagerty also shared a video message with attendees.

WilliamsonCountyGOP_Pompeo_2021-4 Mike Pompeo

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to supporters at a Williamson County GOP event in Franklin on August 7, 2021.

Held at the Embassy Suites in Cool Springs, the event saw local and state leaders condemn President Joe Biden's administration, with both Williamson County GOP Chairman Cheryl Brown and Hagerty alleging Democratic leaders to be pushing for socialism in the United States.

An economic philosophy that advocates for the means of production to be collectively owned by its workers, socialism in actuality has very few supporters among members of the Democratic Party, with just four U.S. House representatives out of 435 having voiced support for socialist policies at some point (Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Cori Bush and Jamaal Bowman).

Nevertheless, Brown's introduction to the event zeroed in on what she considered to be the "Democrat's socialist agenda," while also stressing the need for strong conservatives to run in both state and local races in 2022.

"I am thankful for our leaders who are fighting back for us against the Democrat's socialist agenda, and we appreciate the work you are doing for us to keep our conservative values strong," Brown said.

WilliamsonCountyGOP_Pompeo_2021-8 Cheryl Brown

Williamson County GOP Chairman Cheryl Brown welcomes the crowd at an August 7, 2021, event in Franklin featuring guest speaker former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. 

Prior to the event kicking off, Pompeo spoke to the Home Page about what drew him to visit Williamson County for the event. Pompeo pointed to the county's strong conservative values as being essential for conservatives to be successful in 2022.

"I have friends here, I spend a lot of time in Tennessee, it's a state that understands conservative values, so it's a great place to be to talk about the things that the conservative movement needs to do to be successful in 2022, which is my mission set for the next number of months," Pompeo said.

"People vote with their feet, people are moving to Williamson County, and that tells you an awful lot about the leadership here."

When asked what role local politics such as in Williamson County played on the national stage, Pompeo said local politics were crucial in kicking off meaningful changes in people's lives.

"There is nothing like a good school board meeting to get clarity about what it is we're going to teach the next generation of kids, there's nothing like a good VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) gathering to rally people around the values that say we're going to thank our law enforcement officers or the people who chose to serve our country," Pompeo said.

"I've seen people volunteering to run for city council who have never been to a city council meeting in their life, but they've now seen that these local political actors can have a real impact on them, their families and their businesses. So I'm really thrilled by the engagement I've seen from the American people who are stepping up to do things they didn't anticipate they'd do."

Once the event kicked off at around 6:30 p.m., Lee laid praise onto the former secretary of state as a "godly man with principles and values."


Gov. Bill Lee watches as members of the Franklin High School Junior ROTC present the colors.

Lee mostly spoke of what he considered to be Tennessee's largest legislative accomplishments — the permitless carry bill, heartbeat bill and critical race theory ban bill. Hagerty, in his video message, mostly took aim at the Biden administration.

"In Biden's America, an American citizen needs a vaccine passport to sit down at a restaurant in New York City and eat a cheeseburger, but an illegal immigrant doesn't need a passport to enter the country and be transported to an American community near you and me," Hagerty said in his video message.

WilliamsonCountyGOP_Pompeo_2021-2 Bill Hagerty

Senator Bill Hagerty issues a video message to attendees of a Williamson County GOP event on August 7, 2021, featuring guest speaker former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. 

"As the Biden administration makes it easier for illegal immigrants to enter the country, Democrats' reckless taxing and spending spree will exacerbate the rapid inflation that we're seeing, which I'm sad to report is an ever-increasing tax on your hard-earned incomes and your savings."

While some have blamed government spending as the main cause of recent inflation, others have attributed inflation to a small number of outlier industries, with recent price spikes for used cars accounting for roughly one-third of inflation in April and June.

"In Biden's America, the dollar menu at McDonald's is about to become the $5 menu with all of this American Monopoly money they're throwing around — it's crazy," Hagerty continued.

"I hear from Tennesseans constantly who tell me they're feeling the pain of paying far more of their incomes on everyday items. That's actually why I'm in Washington today: fighting against the Democrats' radical $3.5 trillion spending boondoggle that aims to reorientate our nation towards socialism."

Blackburn piggy-backed off of Hagerty's comments by also blasting the Biden administration, arguing that they want to "take away your free speech" and "your guns."

WilliamsonCountyGOP_Pompeo_2021-12 Marsha Blackburn

Senator Marsha Blackburn addresses attendees at a Williamson County GOP event on August 7, 2021, featuring guest speaker former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. 

Pompeo was the final speaker of the night.

"It's been as hard for me as it has for you to watch what they're doing in Washington, D.C," Pompeo said in front of a crowd of hundreds.

"People have said to me 'Mike, I bet you're glad to be out of the powder keg;' the truth is, I'm not glad. I miss every second of what I had the privilege to do for four years on behalf of President Trump and for you all here in America."

Like Hagerty and Blackburn before him, Pompeo also zeroed in on what he considered to be the failings of the Biden administration.

WilliamsonCountyGOP_Pompeo_2021-13 Mike Pompeo

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to supporters at a Williamson County GOP event in Franklin on August 7, 2021.

"Look at the institutions this administration is tearing down; they want to pack the Supreme Court, they're getting rid of the Hyde Amendment which protects the unborn, they want to add a state to the United States of America, they want to federalize elections," Pompeo said.

"These are the core institutions that have protected us for generations, and I'm so glad you all send such conservative people to Washington to defend and fight for that here in Williamson County; god bless you for that."

"Progressives believe that America is in decline — don't let them wear you out, they are wrong. The progressives believe deeply that our nation, our founding was racist — don't buy it, don't let them wear you out."