US secretary of state Mike Pompeo opens personal Twitter account amid senate talk

The handle, @mikepompeo, had issued two tweets and describes him as "husband, father, Kansan and proud American." PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM MIKEPOMPEO/TWITTER

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - Michael Pompeo on Saturday (Dec 14) opened a personal Twitter account as rumours continue that the Secretary of State will run for the US Senate from Kansas in 2020.

The handle, @mikepompeo, issued two tweets and attracted more than 2,800 followers by day's end.

The State Department has requested in the past that the top US diplomat be referred to as "Michael" in media reports. The arrival of the more folksy "Mike" on social media hints at Mr Pompeo's potential move back into politics.

After flatly rejecting the idea early this year, Mr Pompeo, who turns 56 on Dec 30, recently dodged questions about whether he would run for the seat being vacated by Republican Senator Pat Roberts in 2020.

The native Californian has been acting like a candidate - he's made at least four official visits to his adopted home state this year. In late October, he toured an aircraft manufacturer in Wichita, accompanied by White House adviser Ivanka Trump, and met student athletes from Wichita State University, the Wichita Eagle newspaper reported.

President Donald Trump in November said Mr Pompeo, one of his closest aides within the administration, would "win in a landslide", and predicted on Fox News that the diplomat would join the race if there's any risk Republicans could lose the seat in 2020. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in July that he would like Mr Pompeo to run.

Mr Pompeo's Twitter bio describes him as "husband, father, Kansan and proud American." It shows that "Mike Pompeo" joined Twitter in August, but the account's first posts were about Saturday's Army-Navy football game.

The former Republican representative from Kansas, who gave up his House seat in 2017 to become director of the Central Intelligence Agency, graduated first in his class from the US Military Academy at West Point.

Mr Pompeo tweeted that although Army lost Saturday's grudge match against Navy, it's still "the best rivalry in sports".

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