FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Former Secretary of State and potential 2024 presidential candidate Mike Pompeo gave the keynote address at Tuesday’s GOP Lincoln Day Dinner in Fort Wayne. HIs appearance continued a long tradition of notable Republicans attending the annual event.

An estimated 600 people attended the annual event at the Grand Wayne Center.

Allen County GOP Chair Steve Shine said Pompeo accepted the invitation because of his close relationship with Brian Bauer, the president of IU Health Fort Wayne.

Pompeo served as Secretary of State in the Trump administration from 2018 to the end of the president’s term in 2021. Before that he served as CIA director under Trump. He also served in Congress from 2011 to 2017.

Pompeo is widely considered to be a possible candidate for president in 2024. He has made multiple visits to Iowa, which has fueled speculation about a potential run.

Several protesters gathered outside the Grand Wayne Center to criticize Pompeo for statements he made earlier this year which appeared to praise Russian leader Vladimir Putin.