Poor Mike Pompeo. His staff has revolted over his treatment of LGBTQ people, the Pope denied him an audience, and he’s been widely condemned for both his religious zealotry and his blatant partisanship.
But the secretary of state’s staff and colleagues got the last laugh, leaving Pompeo celebrating the holidays alone when hundreds of staff, family, and important guests all decided to skip the traditional Christmas party. Out of 900 invited guests, only a couple dozen showed up.
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The party, hosted by Pompeo and his wife, had already been condemned by public health officials and legislators. It was held indoors during a pandemic, causing some to say that it would be the next superspreader event. Multiple large events held at the White House by Donald Trump have spread the virus through the ranks of Republican politicians and their assorted hanger-ons.
With no one downstairs waiting for him to show up, an embarrassed Pompeo canceled his speech and skipped the shindig himself. He tapped a staffer to speak in his place.
While the State Department had assured potential guests that masks would be required at the event, photos show they were rarely used as attendees – mostly Trump appointees – mingled maskless, drinking and eating.
“It was a completely irresponsible party to throw,” the invited wife of a diplomat serving abroad told the Washington Post. She said that concerns about coronavirus made the decision to skip the event an easy one. If she were to get sick, there would be no one to take care of their children.
This isn’t the first time Pompeo’s underlings have publicly spoken out against their boss’s bad decision making and disregard for basic protocols.
State Department staff reportedly raised concerns before Pompeo spoke at an anti-LGBTQ hate group’s fundraising dinner earlier this year. The group promotes “conversion therapy,” the quack science that claims LGBTQ people can be “cured.”
The secretary’s advance team originally flagged the group as problematic after finding “overtly anti-gay fliers” at the location where the event would be held. Other employees pointed out that the group promotes the dangerous practice that frequently leads to suicide.
The group says they offer LGBTQ people “help leaving the gay lifestyle” and condemns widespread bans on the practice, saying “conversion therapy” is an “ideological term.”
The Secretary created the Commission on Unalienable Rights, a group stacked with far-right evangelical Christians and religious extremists, to “examine” existing civil rights laws and prioritize them. Unsurprisingly, the group found that “religious freedom” was more important than women’s reproductive freedom and LGBTQ rights.
An anti-LGBTQ activist was the chair of the commission.