Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's timing could've been better. Yesterday, of course, was the national holiday for Martin Luther King Jr. Today, Tony Blinken, nominated to succeed Pompeo, was sitting down for a confirmation hearing, exploring the work that will need to be done to clean up the outgoing secretary of State's mess. Tomorrow, Kamala Harris will be sworn in as the first woman of color to hold national office.
It was against this backdrop that Pompeo thought it'd be a good idea to tweet some thoughts about American culture.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized "multiculturalism" on Tuesday, his last full day as America's top diplomat, saying in a tweet that it was "not who America is."
"Woke-ism, multiculturalism, all the -isms — they're not who America is," Pompeo wrote. The text appeared above an image in which the Kansas Republican added that "censorship, wokeness, and political correctness" put a nation on the path to "authoritarianism."
Of course, the timing was hardly the only problem with his rhetoric.
The reference to "censorship," for example, seemed especially ironic: it was just last week when a Voice of America journalist was demoted for daring to ask Pompeo follow-up questions after one of his political appearances.
But it was Pompeo's denunciation of "multiculturalism" that stood out as extraordinary. The New York Times reported:
The tweet infuriated American diplomats abroad and in the United States who described it as a final insult by an administration that has promoted far more white male Foreign Service Officers than women or people of color. Black and Hispanic diplomats each make up 8 percent of the Foreign Service, and Asians account for 7 percent, according to State Department data from March, the most recent available.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which oversees the State Department, responded to Pompeo's missive with one of his own: "I guess I appreciate him just saying it out loud. That America's multiculturalism is a weakness. That if you're not white with European ancestry, you're not American. It's stunning to hear him say it, but at least he's not hiding it."