ABOVE: Mike Pompeo during his confirmation hearing to become the next secretary of state declined to specifically say whether he thinks being gay is “a perversion.” Washington Blade photo by Michael Key.
Two members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have cited Mike Pompeo’s anti-LGBTQ statements as among the reasons they oppose his nomination to become the next secretary of state.
“Mr. Pompeo has made repeated, damning statements about members of the Islamic faith and the LGBTQ community during his public career that are completely antithetical to American values,” said U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) on Wednesday in a statement that announced his opposition to Pompeo. “His statements in that regard make it challenging for him to represent our country to the world and oversee our smart power arsenal.”
U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) on Tuesday also cited Pompeo’s opposition to LGBTQ rights as among the reasons she opposes his nomination.
“The secretary of state is a policy-making position and I continue to have deep concerns regarding Mr. Pompeo’s past statements and policy views, particularly in regards to the LGBTQ community, American Muslims and women’s reproductive rights,” said Shaheen in a statement. “For these reasons, I have concluded that I cannot support Director Pompeo to lead the State Department at this critical time.”
President Trump last month nominated Pompeo — a former Kansas congressman who is currently the director of the CIA — to succeed then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson after he fired him.
Shaheen and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) last week during his confirmation hearing pressed Pompeo on his anti-LGBTQ statements. Pompeo notably did not specifically answer Booker’s question about whether he thinks “being gay is a perversion.”
U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) are among the committee members who have also announced they will vote against Pompeo.
It is increasingly uncertain whether the committee will vote in favor of Pompeo’s nomination. The U.S. Senate could still consider it if the committee opposes it.