How This Administration Shuts Down Meaningful Dialogue

Barring unforeseen circumstances, Mike Pompeo will be confirmed as the next secretary of state by the end of the week. We now know of at least three Democrats who plan to vote for him: Heitkamp, Manchin and Donnelly. That doesn’t stop the kind of nonsense we heard this morning from Sarah Huckabee Sanders:

First of all, Republicans hold a majority of seats in the Senate, so if there was some trouble with the Pompeo confirmation, it would be because of defections from the president’s party.

But more importantly, Sanders chose to attack the patriotism of Democrats who opposed this nomination by suggesting that if they vote “no” on confirmation, it is because they hate Trump more than they love their country. Perhaps you’ll recall that Ronna McDaniel, chair of the RNC, recently did the same thing. That, my friends, is a perfect example of how to shut down meaningful dialogue in this country. I’d even go so far as to suggest that it is unpatriotic to ignore political differences and, instead, challenge the patriotism of your opponents.

Democrats have good reason to object to Pompeo as secretary of state. For example, he:

  • opposes the Iran nuclear deal,
  • defended the use of torture by the Bush administration,
  • defended the use of Guantanamo prison,
  • is a climate science denier,
  • falsely asserted that the Obama administration intentionally covered up the truth about the Benghazi investigation,
  • endorsed the notion that homosexuality is a “perversion,”
  • accused the American Muslim community of being “silent” about the Boston Marathon bombing,
  • aligned himself with some extremely radical anti-Muslim voices, most notably Frank Gaffney and Brigitte Gabriel, and
  • waffled on almost all of these issues during his confirmation process.

It is important to keep in mind that Pompeo will serve a president who endorses all of these positions, so it starts at the top. But rather than simply embrace that or explain their policies, Sanders chose to accuse the opposition of not loving our country.

There is no doubt about the fact that our country is divided, while accusations go back and forth about who is to blame. I would suggest that any time someone challenges the patriotism of their opponent rather than engage about the issues, they are responsible for creating the divide.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.