Senators Must Reject Nomination of Extreme Hawk Pompeo to Lead State Department

March 13, 2018

J Street is deeply troubled by the President’s abrupt move to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo. We oppose Pompeo’s nomination and urge Senators to vote against his confirmation. Pompeo is deeply ill-suited to manage US foreign policy and, in particular, the future of the JCPOA nuclear agreement with Iran.

Even in an administration known for its fundamental hostility to diplomacy, Pompeo stands out as a hawkish ideologue and an extreme advocate for the use of military force. He called for the use of military force against Iran even in the midst of productive negotiations and has promoted the doctrine of “regime change” — a recipe for another destructive war in the Middle East. Time and time again, Pompeo has actively called for the US to withdraw from the JCPOA and has fundamentally misrepresented the agreement’s core provisions and details.

Secretary Tillerson, while at times showing an interest in multilateral international cooperation and non-violent conflict resolution, also presided over a steep decline in the resources, capacity and prominence of the State Department and of US diplomacy in general. Under the leadership of Pompeo, we fear that this dangerous trend will only accelerate.

There is good reason to believe that when it comes to Iran and other highly sensitive issues, Pompeo will validate and encourage President Trump’s most reckless, aggressive and dangerous policy instincts. Indeed, in his own comments today, the president made clear that he had disagreed with Tillerson on the subject of the JCPOA, while he believes Pompeo to be in line with his own desire to “either break [the agreement] or do something.”

Pompeo also has a disgraceful history of expressing anti-Muslim views, using inflammatory rhetoric to demonize and stereotype Muslims in the United States. That kind of ideology and rhetoric should have no place anywhere in our government — let alone in the office of America’s top diplomat. In addition to being morally unacceptable, it renders him a totally unsuitable interlocutor on critical issues like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The disastrous foreign policy of the Trump administration is alienating the US from our allies and abdicating our responsibilities, while exacerbating conflict around the world. By refusing to confirm Pompeo as Secretary of State, senators can send a clear message that they oppose this agenda and will not stand idly by while the president and his cabinet seek to withdraw from the JCPOA and drag us into wars of choice.

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