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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the meaning of "swagger"

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 01: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (C) delivers remarks during a welcome ceremony with is wife Susan Pompeo (R) in the lobby of the Harry S. Truman Building May 1, 2018 in Washington, DC.

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Mike Pompeo is fond of saying that the State Department needs to "get its swagger back" -- it's a point he brings up often, and it speaks to the low morale of the staff under his predecessor, Rex Tillerson. At a town hall meeting with State staffers Wednesday, Pompeo talked about what he means.

"So, I've become known for saying that the State Department must 'get its swagger back,'" he said. "I believe it with all my heart. What do I mean?"

"Swagger is not arrogance; it is not boastfulness, it is not ego," Pompeo told State Department employees. "No, swagger is confidence; in one's self, in one's ideas. In our case, it is America's essential rightness. And it is aggressiveness born of the righteous knowledge that our cause is just, special, and built upon America's core principles."

He told them that President Trump understands the State Department's diplomatic mission. "We are fortunate that our president values and understands the power of diplomacy, and knows that we must use every tool in the diplomatic toolkit," he said, and he quoted the president's speech in Warsaw last year, when Mr. Trump said, "Our own fight for the West does not begin on the battlefield – it begins with our minds and our wills and our souls."

"I know how dedicated this team is to our mission," Pompeo said. "And as we put wins on the board for our country, I'm confident we will get our swagger on."

On the same day, Tillerson, who was ousted in March by Mr. Trump in favor of Pompeo, was sounding the alarm about "a growing crisis of integrity and ethics" in his first public speech since leaving the Trump administration almost two months ago

"When we as people, a free people, go wobbly on the truth even on what may seem the most trivial of matters, we go wobbly on America," Tillerson told the graduating class of cadets at the Virginia Military Institute.  

While he didn't mention President Trump by name, Tillerson did reference an "accepting of alternate realities" and warned that the country is in danger if Americans can't agree on basic facts.

"If our leaders seek to conceal the truth and we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts, then as an American people we are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom," Tillerson warned.  

CBS News' Kylie Atwood contributed to this report.