By - Reuters
By Tyler Clifford
(Reuters) - Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday he will not enter the 2024 presidential race, which would have pitted him against his former boss Donald Trump for the Republican nomination.
Pompeo, 59, said he decided with his wife that he would not be a candidate for the office due to personal reasons.
"The time is not right for me and my family," Pompeo said in a statement. "This is not that time or that moment for me to seek elected office again."
A former Kansas congressman, Pompeo developed a reputation as one of Trump's most loyal lieutenants when he served as secretary of state and director of the Central Intelligence Agency. He advanced Trump's pugnacious foreign policy as the top U.S. diplomat and was a magnet for controversy in Washington.
Pompeo also initially backed Trump's false claims of a stolen presidential election following his 2020 defeat to Democrat Joe Biden, though Pompeo eventually cooperated with the incoming administration. In recent months he has indirectly criticized Trump, saying Republicans need leaders who do not dwell on the past.
President Biden said on Friday he has decided to run for a second term in 2024 and would announce his campaign "relatively soon."
With Pompeo out, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is the lone Trump administration official to announce she will challenge the former president. She served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under Trump from 2017 to 2018.
Among other possible Republican primary candidates are Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence.
(Reporting by Tyler Clifford in New York; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)