UPDATE: On Monday, April 23, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee narrowly voted (11-9-1 along party lines) to advance Pompeo to the full Senate for confirmation as Secretary of State. Senators are poised to vote on Pompeo’s nomination later this week — and we need to do everything we can to stop his confirmation.
Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo poses major threats to women's, refugee, and LGBTQ rights. During the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s April 12 confirmation hearing, a number of senators raised questions over the Mueller investigation, Syria, Russia, North Korea, and diplomacy — as well as their strong concerns about Pompeo's disturbing track record on a range of human rights issues.
At times, Pompeo tried to moderate his remarks and encouraged the committee to look at his past actions (ummm, we have and it keeps us up at night!).
Many senators were not buying it, given his long and extreme record (detailed below). When pressed, Pompeo demonstrated he wouldn’t push back on the administration’s dangerous agenda and wouldn’t disavow his extreme and offensive rhetoric.
He dodged a question from Sen. Jeanne Shaheen about whether he would reject attempts to censor reproductive and LGBT rights from the State Department’s annual Human Rights Report.
He refused to tell Sen. Cory Booker whether he still thinks being gay is a “perversion” and stood by his position against marriage equality.
He wouldn’t apologize for calling Muslim Americans “potentially complicit” in acts of violence for failing to speak out when Sen. Ed Markey questioned him.
The hearing left us with no doubt that Pompeo would greenlight this administration's worst instincts when it comes to global engagement, including with women, LGBTQ people, Muslim communities, and refugees. Planned Parenthood is part of a large and growing coalition of over 180 national organizations urging the Senate to vote no on Pompeo.
With President Donald Trump’s unceremonious ouster of Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, Trump has nominated CIA Director Mike Pompeo to fill this important position. Whereas Tillerson was largely inexperienced in politics, Pompeo has a track record and plenty of experience attacking the human rights of women, girls, LGBTQ people, and youth. He must be stopped.
What does the secretary of state even do?
The secretary of state is the top diplomat and public face for the U.S. to world leaders in important settings around the globe. To preserve America’s global standing and advance our national interests, U.S. leaders must continue to promote global development and diplomacy, and for the secretary of state, that includes championing and defending human rights. The secretary of state has significant influence over the rights, health, and very lives of women and the communities that depend on them around the world – for better (overseeing the vital work of the Office of Global Women’s Issues, PEPFAR [the nation’s global HIV/AIDS program], humanitarian assistance, the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, and the Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons) or for worse (implementing the Trump-Pence administration’s deadly global gag rule).
Why is Pompeo so bad for this role?
Mike Pompeo is an opponent of human rights. He has a hostile record of action and rhetoric against the human rights of the very groups that these offices under the secretary of state are designed to protect.
Here’s just a few examples of why Pompeo is the worst:
He callously disregards women’s needs around the world. As a member of Congress, Pompeo consistently voted for legislation that codified the global gag rule, a dangerous policy that deprives women around the world of quality health care and full control over their bodies, futures, and lives. He also cosponsored legislation to eliminate funding for United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which provides critical family planning services often in the most dire humanitarian settings.
He opposes some forms of contraception and abortion access even in the case of rape. Pompeo has cast dozens of votes to attack women’s health, including co-sponsoring a so-called “personhood” bill that would not only make abortion illegal in almost all cases, but even ban the most common forms of contraception (which could drive up unintended pregnancies and the need for abortion services).
He’s anti-LGBTQ. Pompeo has consistently opposed LGBTQ rights through his support of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and his condemnation of the historic 2015 Obergefell ruling that guaranteed marriage equality.
He’s anti-Muslim. Pompeo has made discriminatory and dangerously misleading statements about Muslims, which could undermine diplomacy, a critical responsibility of the secretary of state.
And this is just the short list.
Given Pompeo’s record, he is likely to double down on the devastating Trump-Pence agenda that has hurt women, girls, and communities around the world since day one. If you thought Tillerson was bad, this is the man Trump is replacing him with to push the agenda harder and further than before.
Pompeo’s committee confirmation hearing went exactly as we expected. And despite his extremism, he could go to the Senate floor as soon as the week of April 23. Several letters and statements from a diverse set of groups have condemned his nomination for secretary of state, including a letter that Planned Parenthood Federation of America signed along with a coalition of 60 other organizations committed to diplomacy, reproductive rights, and human rights.
Planned Parenthood believes that all people deserve to live healthy lives and have their human rights respected, protected, and fulfilled — no matter who they are or where they live. We need a secretary of state who will protect the rights of women and girls instead of undermining them, who opposes discrimination of LGBTQ people instead of attacking them, who builds bridges with Muslim communities instead of feeding into Islamophobia, and who promotes access to health care, including reproductive health services, instead of seeking to ban abortion and contraception access. Pompeo is none of these things, and he must be stopped.
If senators asked the hard questions on Pompeo's record on women's health and rights and discrimination against LGBTQ people and Muslims, they'd work to #StopPompeo. We need a secretary of state who protects #humanrights — not one who tramples them.