The Family Research Council (FRC) uses discredited research and junk science to attack and vilify LGBT people. It claims they’re incestuous and “violent,” for example, a danger to children and society.
Joining them is none other than Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The news that such a high-ranking member of the Trump administration — one charged with representing the United States to the rest of the world — is choosing to attend an FRC event certainly “raises eyebrows,” as Nahal Toosi wrote for Politico.
As a former George W. Bush administration official told Toosi, “It’s unusual for a secretary of state to be at an event with ‘voter’ in the title.”
It’s much worse than that, in fact.
Pompeo, though, might feel right at home appearing with such far-right extremists. He’s spoken at numerous conferences hosted by ACT for America and Center for Security Policy, both anti-Muslim hate groups. And he’s not the only one from the Trump administration.
Days later, a speechwriter for President Trump, Darren Beattie, was fired after revelations that he had spoken at a conference alongside Peter Brimelow, founder of the white nationalist website VDARE.
The Trump administration has opened its doors to the radical right. Not only are high-ranking officials speaking at events hosted by hate groups, they’re inviting extremists to consult on the administration’s policies, set its agenda and shape its rhetoric.
We saw another clear example this week with the news that it was Stephen Bannon and Kris Kobach who were behind the addition of a question about citizenship to the 2020 Census questionnaire.
Both have ties to extremists who would like to see exactly such a policy out of the White House. Bannon, of course, is Trump's former chief strategist, a man who has boasted of transforming Breitbart News into “the platform for the alt-right.” Kobach, now the secretary of state in Kansas, is a longtime lawyer for the anti-immigrant hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform. He is also one of the nation’s leading proponents of state laws that suppress the votes of the poor and people of color.
We’ve been tracking instances of extremism in the White House. In less than a year, we’ve found 160 incidents, with at least 15 different hate groups involved in some way.
That’s unacceptable. And it’s why last weekend, we went to Washington to talk to residents who — like us — won’t stand for the bigotry on display at today’s so-called Values Voter Summit.
It’s overwhelmingly clear that the “values” Pompeo will be supporting – tacitly, at the very least –will not be those of LGBT people.
They won’t the values of the DC residents who are standing with us to say #Y’allMeansAll.
They won’t even be the values of the majority of Americans, whose government should represent their interests rather than the interests of a hate group.
Heather Nauert, a spokeswoman for the State Department, told Politico that Pompeo’s message today is “not political. It’s not a Republican or Democrat message.”
That makes no difference. He has already sent a clear message by agreeing to even appear at the summit. And we’ve all heard it.
P.S. Here are some other pieces we think are valuable this week:
- White people are still being raised to be racially illiterate by Robin Diangelo for NBC News
- Hate-crime acquittal roils LGBTQ community in West Virginia by Yawana Wolfe for Courthouse News
- Bad paperwork by Lucas Iberico Lozada for Popula
- Americans want to believe jobs are the solution to poverty. They’re not. by Matthew Desmond for The New York Times Magazine
SPLC’s Weekend Read is a weekly summary of the most important news reporting and commentary from around the country on civil rights, economic and racial inequality, and hate and extremism. Sign up to receive the Weekend Read every Saturday morning.