Mike Pompeo isn’t quietly fading away. In his final days as secretary of state, he’s issuing orders that have caused international consternation and tweeting up a storm on his official and personal accounts to cement his legacy as a prime promoter of President Donald Trump’s “America First” doctrine.
On Tuesday Pompeo sparked a bevy of criticism for tweeting from his official government Twitter account that “multiculturalism” is un-American. “Woke-ism, multiculturalism, all the -isms — they're not who America is. They distort our glorious founding and what this country is all about. Our enemies stoke these divisions because they know they make us weaker,” Pompeo tweeted about a graphic that equated wokeness and political correctness with authoritarianism.
Critics were quick to point out that perhaps Pompeo doesn’t know the definition of “multiculturalism.” NBC’s senior political analyst Jonathan Allen responded: “Definition of multiculturalism: ‘the presence of, or support for the presence of, several distinct cultural or ethnic groups within a society.’”
Author Keith Boykin hit back saying, “Mike Pompeo is a disgrace. Multiculturalism is not an “ism” like racism. It’s who we are. E Pluribus Unum (“out of many, one”) appears on the Great Seal of the United States. Glad he’ll be gone tomorrow.”
With a potential eye on a 2024 presidential run, Pompeo has doubled down on his support for Trump, even as other Cabinet members have resigned or stayed out of sight in the aftermath of the Capitol violence. While the House debated Trump’s role in encouraging the riot, Pompeo sent a tweet promoting Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Over the past week, Pompeo has celebrated controversial policies that are likely to be overturned by his successor, stepped up criticism of what he believes to be unfair news coverage, and he has complained about alleged censorship of conservatives on social media.
And in a sign of his post-Trump ambitions, he urged followers of his official State Department Twitter account to start following his personal one.
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While it’s not unusual for outgoing Cabinet members to publicize their successes, Pompeo has taken it a step further by trashing his predecessors in the national security community, some of whom will play prominent roles in President-elect Joe Biden’s administration.
“Remember this Middle East ‘expert?’ He said it couldn’t happen. We did it,” Pompeo said in a taunting tweet featuring a video clip of John Kerry saying Arab countries would not recognize Israel without an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. Kerry, a former secretary of state, will serve as climate envoy in the Biden administration.
Already the most political of recent secretaries of state, Pompeo has bristled at even the mildest criticism and accused his critics of being misguided, unintelligent or incompetent. He has ignored the advice of his own advisers by forging ahead with pet projects, some of which seem designed to complicate Biden’s presidency.
Since last Saturday, he has:
—Rescinded long-standing restrictions on U.S. contacts with Taiwan, a move that’s main result is to anger China.
—Declared Yemen’s Houthi rebels a terrorist organization, a step that the United Nations and relief agencies say could worsen what is already a humanitarian catastrophe.
—Re-designated Cuba a “state sponsor of terrorism,” an action that will impede or at least delay any attempt by Biden to improve ties with Havana.