Pompeo-Kim Jong Un meeting raises stakes over confirmation: White House

A battle is brewing over Mike Pompeo's confirmation as secretary of state.

"He’s a great gentleman and I think he’ll go down as a great secretary of state," Trump said when asked by reporters at Mar-a-Lago whether he was concerned that Pompeo's nomination could be derailed.

Trump then praised Pompeo over the news that broke Tuesday evening of his secret trip to North Korea on Easter weekend to meet directly with Kim.

“He just left North Korea," Trump said. "Had a great meeting with Kim Jong Un and got along with him really well, really great.”

Trump added, "I have a feeling it's going to work out very well and I think our country really needs him."

But Trump said Wednesday that he believed Sen. Paul, whom the president said he considers a close friend, would potentially come around.

"I will say this about Rand Paul, he’s never let me down," Trump said. "And I don’t think he’ll let us down again."

Following the president's comments Wednesday, Paul said he had talked with Trump on the phone and would meet with Pompeo "out of respect for the president," but that it would take a lot to change his mind.

"He's already invested deeply in the upcoming summit between the president and Kim Jong Un. It would be a very bad sign and I think set back the preparation and perhaps even results of that upcoming summit for Senate Democrats to oppose as a bloc Mike Pompeo's nomination to be secretary of state," Cotton said on the call.

Even some Democrats who have expressed opposition to Pompeo were encouraged by news of his secret meeting earlier this month with Kim.

"If truth and being forthcoming as the secretary of state nominee is one of the standards we like to see for the next secretary of state, I think he failed that," Menendez said.