Why India mattered in Democrats’ opposition to Mike Pompeo as US secy of state nominee
Democrats on Wednesday, April 25, opposed the nomination of Mike Pompeo, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), for the post of the US secretary of state because of his remarks on Indians, Muslims and other ethnic minority groups, PTI reported.
Democrat Senator Robert Menendez, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said during a debate on the issue in the Upper House that the concerns against Pompeo's nomination were beyond policy disagreements which "alone are not a basis for rejecting a nominee", the report added.
Senate's Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he questioned Pompeo if he would withdraw his remarks made against Indian Americans, Muslims, LGBTQ Americans and women's rights for he was now nominated for an important post and head to handle nations that might resent his statements.
Pompeo reportedly refused and that made Schumacher decide against voting for the former to be the chief of handling the country's external affairs. He echoed Menendez saying disagreements on policy alone were not adequate a reason for rejecting a nominee.
"But I gave Mr Pompeo the benefit of the doubt and three chances to answer the questions that I thought were extremely important and assuage my broader concerns about his nomination, and [he] did not answer those questions in any way that was satisfying. So, with a clear conscience, I will be voting against his nomination," PTI quoted Schumer as saying.
Menendez also raised the Trump administration's aggressive position on neighbour Mexico on issues of drug trafficking.
"On our own border, we simply cannot address the threat of drug traffickers or opioids without productive collaboration with Mexico. When the President wants to call Mexicans drug-traffickers and rapists, as our nation's top diplomat - who during his confirmation hearing insisted his "record is exquisite with respect to treating people of each and every faith with the dignity they deserve" - would Mr Pompeo advise the President not to? Or would it be the Pompeo who once called a political opponent a "turban-topper" prevail?" Menendez asked, according to the PTI report.
The senator also asked how Pompeo would explain his rhetoric to people from various faiths who wear turbans including Sikhs, Punjabis or Muslims in India - which he called a "critically important ally" - or Orthodox Christians in the Horn of Africa or tribal leaders in Afghanistan - a country with which the US is trying to build a good relationship "based on democracy and human rights".
The US has no full-time secretary of state after the ouster of Rex Tillerson from the post in March this year. John S Sullivan is serving as the acting secretary of state at the moment.