Today, Mike Pompeo faces his hearing for Secretary of State. Here are five reasons we think he’s unfit for this role:
1. He’s a climate change denier who has worked to undermine international climate efforts before.
It’s hard to believe that his replacement might be worse for the climate than former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, but Pompeo might be. In Congress, he was a climate denier, one of the biggest recipients of oil and gas money, and a vocal critic of the Paris Agreement. The U.S. is still a party to the Agreement until at least 2020, and as Secretary of State, Pompeo would oversee ongoing negotiations at the UN about the Agreement. State Department negotiators, under direction from Pompeo, could seek to actively undermine the rest of the world’s efforts under the Paris Agreement. This cannot be allowed to happen.
2. He has ties to Monsanto and the Koch Brothers.
When Pompeo was a Representative from Kansas, he was the largest recipient of Koch brothers’ funding in 2010, and in 2014, Pompeo introduced a bill to protect Monsanto and other agribusiness companies from GMO labeling laws that states were passing across the country. Derided as the “DARK Act” – Deny Americans the Right to Know – Pompeo’s bill nullified all state laws mandating GMO labels and allowed corporations to avoid labeling food made with GMOs. Pompeo’s allegiance to corporate interests at the expense of consumers raises serious concerns if he were to become Secretary of State.
3. He stands by his Islamophobia.
Pompeo has a horrifying record of Islamophobia, which is completely unacceptable in any context, but especially from someone nominated to serve as chief diplomat for the United States. While he was in Congress, ACT! for America, which the Anti-Defamation League calls “the largest anti-Muslim group in the United States today,” gave him an award. In the aftermath of the Boston bombing marathon, he said that Muslim leaders had insufficiently condemned the attack and were “potentially complicit”. These comments came, of course, despite the fact that Muslim leaders had repeatedly renounced the violence. Holding a whole religion responsible for the actions of individual members isn’t just ignorant, it’s discriminatory, hurtful and unacceptable from any government official.
4. His human rights record is a problem.
As a member of Congress, his record on human rights also raises serious concerns. In 2016, then Congressman Pompeo cosponsored a bill that would have banned refugees from coming to the United States until Congress agreed otherwise. This proposal was offered in the name of security, despite the exhaustive, nearly two-year vetting process for refugees that meant the U.S. was already behind in its commitment to take in Syrian refugees. This bill went even farther than Trump’s Muslim ban by attempting to stop all refugees, from anywhere, from coming to the U.S. Refugees have been forced from their homes, sometimes violently. They must be made welcome here.
5. He’ll let his department be decimated by budget cuts.
The Trump Administration has repeatedly proposed massive budget cuts for the State Department and foreign assistance. The proposed International Affairs Budget for fiscal year 2019 was 30% below the 2017 figure. While the Secretary of State works for the President, one would hope that the head of a department would go to bat for that department’s priorities and staff in budget discussions. Considering Pompeo’s reputation as a tea partier, it is hard to see him playing that role.