Mike Pompeo is a pro-torture racist. Why are Dems coaching him for Senate hearings?

Daily Kos is currently running a petition against Mike Pompeo’s nomination to be appointed Secretary of State. It lists several very good reasons for denying Pompeo confirmation, and ends with:

Pompeo is a xenophobic, pro-torture, climate-denying war hawk. If the Senate confirms him, it will be disastrous for U.S. diplomacy and would undermine progress on multiple continents for years. — www.dailykos.com/…

Pompeo is among a sizable group of Republicans who have built their careers on outright xenophobia, focusing especially on hate directed towards Muslims. In many ways, his election the house and that of other Republicans like Steve King was a harbinger of Trump’s election.

This includes incidents like an Oklahoma Republican who refused to meet with young constituents who were Muslim, and asked them to answer a ten page questionnaire on Islam including questions like “do you beat your wife”. Buzzfeed did a comprehensive article on this strand of rhetoric within the Republican party:

The anti-Muslim rhetoric in virtually every state reflects the general coarsening of political speech in the anything-goes era of President Donald Trump, who’s lashed out at Mexicans, Muslims, African Americans, women, and other targets. Still, the jabs at Islam are set apart by their sheer ugliness as well as by companion efforts aimed at restricting Muslim civil liberties and immigration. Muslim groups worry that politicians’ unchecked vilification of a religion followed by more than 3.3 million Americans opens the door for even bigger blows than the travel ban. […]

State Rep. Mack Butler last year asked on social media, “Have you noticed that we keep hearing how Islam is a religion of peace as they blow people up?” Alabama lawmaker Mo Brooks said in 2016 that Muslims want “to kill every homosexual in the United States.” The same year, Gurley Police Chief Barry Pendergraft posted a video of himself with ammunition under the caption, “100 more bacon grease covered bullets in the box! This relaxes me so!!!” […]

In 2015, former Nebraska state Sen. Bill Kintner suggested that any Muslim wishing to enter the United States should be forced to eat pork first. The same year, Rhode Island state Sen. Elaine Morgan inadvertently sent an email to colleagues blasting Muslims as murderous and recommending that Syrian refugees be housed in camps; she later stood by her anti-refugee comments but said she’d sent the email before editing it to make clear she was referring to “fanatical” Muslims. — www.buzzfeed.com/…

The Buzzfeed article is worth a read, it provides a taste for how racist politicians have stoked animus against Muslims, without facing any repercussions. Part of the explanation is that many American muslims are black, and so anti-Muslim rhetoric doubles as a cover for racism. This found expression during the Obama years in the conspiracy theories around Obama’s faith:

Pompeo’s Islamophobe credentials are without dispute. He has fought for years to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, a move that even the Trump administration has refused to make. He was once a regular guest on the radio show of Frank Gaffney, where he once agreed with the notoriously anti-Muslim host that President Obama had an “affinity” for ISIS. And in 2016, he claimed that “people who deeply believe that Islam is the way” are a “threat to America.” — nymag.com/…

Gaffney had a different interpretation, wondering whether the president was conveying “kind of an affinity for, if not the violent beheading and crucifixions and slaying of Christians and all that, but at least for the cause for which these guys are engaged in such activities.”

Pompeo agreed, saying, “Frank, every place you stare at the president’s policies and statements, you see what you just described.” — www.rightwingwatch.org/…

Yes, you read that right. Mike Pompeo nodded along as arch-racist Gaffney said that Obama had an affinity for terrorists.  So, Pompeo is a member in good standing of the sizable group of Republicans who routinely demonize Muslims:

In 2013, when he was a congressman from Kansas, Mike Pompeo said that Muslim religious leaders were “potentially complicit” in the Boston Marathon attack because they had not forcefully condemned the bombing. — www.bostonglobe.com/…

Oh, and he’s also in favor of torture (just like Trump):

Pompeo, in his public testimony, did not put to rest questions about positions on torture that he himself has professed in the past, or about what he might encourage Trump to do, if Trump should turn to him in private. Pompeo, in past statements, has defended the use of waterboarding under the Bush Administration, with the bankrupt argument that, although torture was illegal, waterboarding was not torture, and nor were other “techniques” that lawyers in the Administration signed off on. — www.newyorker.com/…

Why then, are not one, but two former Democratic presidential nominees and Secretaries of State coaching Mike Pompeo for the confirmation hearings?

As a sharply partisan Republican member of Congress, CIA Director Mike Pompeo tormented former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over her response to the deadly 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, which Pompeo called “morally reprehensible.” He also once liked a tweet that branded her successor, John Kerry, a “traitor.”[…]

But now that Pompeo faces a tough confirmation process to become secretary of state himself, he has reached out to Clinton and Kerry, as well as every other living occupant of the office, to ask for guidance. Clinton, for one, has been willing to help.

“These were lengthy calls seeking advice” from the former secretaries, a person familiar with Pompeo’s prep work told Politico. — www.politico.com/…

I’m genuinely interested in what the Kerry and Clinton’s thinking is here. Why are they aiding the confirmation prep of a Republican candidate who has such virulent views. Especially when they’ve both been objects of his hatred. Pompeo wants to go to war with Iran, a dangerous predilection when Bolton is in charge of the NSC. He is an apologist and defender for torture programs. He is a noted Islamophobe. Do they think by helping Pompeo get confirmed they’ll have changed his long-held views on torture or militarism?

BTW, Senator Rand Paul (KY) and Senator Bernie Sander (VT) have already said they intend to vote against Pompeo’s confirmation.

— @subirgrewal