The Senate convened a confirmation hearing Thursday for CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as U.S. secretary of state. During five hours of testimony, Pompeo faced protests from CodePink demonstrators who objected to Pompeo’s long history of ties to Islamophobic organizations; his climate change denial; and his hawkish views on Syria, Iran and North Korea. Former U.S. Army colonel and retired State Department official Ann Wright briefly disrupted the hearings.
Ann Wright: “This man is no diplomat! This man is no diplomat! War—”
Sen. Bob Corker: “Please—please remove.”
New Jersey Democratic Senator Cory Booker questioned Pompeo over his opposition to marriage equality—and his past comments that gay sex is a “perversion”.
Sen. Cory Booker: “Do you believe that gay sex is a perversion? Yes or no?
Mike Pompeo: “Senator, if I can—”
Sen. Cory Booker: “Yes or no, sir?”
Mike Pompeo: “If you can give me a moment—if you just give me a moment—”
Sen. Cory Booker: “Do you believe that gay sex is a perversion? Because that’s what you said here—”
Mike Pompeo: “Senator, my—”
Sen. Cory Booker: “—in one of your speeches. Yes or no? Do you believe gay sex is a perversion?”
Mike Pompeo: “Senator, I’m going to give you the same answer I just gave you previously.”
Sen. Cory Booker: “You’re going to be secretary of state of the United States at a time that we have an increase in hate speech and hate actions against Jewish Americans, Muslim Americans, Indian Americans. Hate acts are on the increase in our nation. You’re going to be representing this country and their values abroad, in nations where gay individuals are under untold persecution, untold violence. Your views do matter.”