You’d think that someone who formerly served in Congress would have his or her confirmation to a top executive branch job pretty much assured. But not Mike Pompeo, current CIA director and nominee to be the next secretary of state.
Democratic Sens. Chris Murphy of Connecticut Tim Kaine of Virginia and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire have all said they will vote in committee against recommending Pompeo to the full Senate (Republican Sen. Rand Paul had also voiced his opposition before coming out Monday in favor of Pompeo). Last year the Senate confirmed Pompeo to head the CIA by a vote of 66 to 32, but the vote is expected to be far closer this time.
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) said on Twitter: “I voted YES on Pompeo for CIA on the theory that he would be the ‘adult in the room.’ I was wrong. I am voting NO on Pompeo for Secretary of State because our top diplomat should believe in diplomacy. He has an alarming tendency towards military provocation and brinkmanship.”
You’d think a guy who graduated first in his class from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, as Pompeo did, would have it made in the shade on Capitol Hill, what with all those chickenhawks in the Senate who love to fawn over military heroes and who are quick to vote to send other people’s children to war. Why, just look at the popularity of Sen. John McCain, who finished sixth from last in his class from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis.
But no. Pompeo could become the first secretary of state to not be recommended to the full Senate by the Foreign Relations Committee since 1925!
Pompeo served in Congress from Kansas, where he was widely rumored to be “the Koch brothers’ favorite lawmaker.” He once wrote an article for Politico titled “Stop harassing the Koch brothers.” Act for America, which is considered the largest anti-Muslim group in the U.S., awarded dude its highest honor, the National Security Eagle Award, in 2016.
“Pompeo has a history of his work in the Congress,” Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK Women for Peace, told this writer. “There he was known as an Islamophobe, and he was known as a hawk. He was also known by his close relationship with people who are known Islamophobes. So I think all of that has come back to bite him, because, maybe as director of the CIA he’s been more in the background, but his record as a member of Congress is very clear, and it certainly isn’t one that reflects the kind of skill that our chief diplomat should have.”
Pompeo has a long history of supporting the right-wing agenda, including the Iraq invasion and the use of torture, and he has strong ties to many Islamophobic organizations.
“So I think the place to look for real danger as far as Popmeo is concerned is Iran,” Benjamin said.
The concern is heightened because Pompeo joins ultra-hawkish National Security Adviser John Bolton in what Trump is constructing that resembles a “war cabinet.”
“This is not just a vote for Pompeo,” Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council, said in a broadcast interview. “This would be to enable Donald Trump to have a Cabinet in which you have no longer these mythical ‘adults in the room’ any longer, but rather almost exclusively ‘yes men.’
“And as a result, I think what is emerging on Capitol Hill is a understanding that a vote for Pompeo is essentially a vote for John Bolton, and a vote for John Bolton is a vote for war,” Parsi said. “And I think that we are very likely to see the death of the Iran nuclear deal, which then, once again, will open up the pathway for a war between the United States and Iran. His rejection of the Iran deal is part of the reason why he’s being nominated by Donald Trump to be secretary of state.”
All of this and much more confirms my theory that Trump has the opposite of the Midas Touch, the ability a mythical ruler possessed which turned everything he touched into gold. This president has the “Manure Touch,” in my opinion. Everything he touches turns to fertilizer — which is a good reason to stay as far away from him as possible, lest his stench get into your clothes.