Trump lackey Mike Pompeo ‘appalled’ his own staff with speech to anti-LGBT+ group that backs conversion therapy

Mike Pompeo

Mike Pompeo has defended his decision to address an overtly anti-LGBT+ group which reportedly led to an internal protest among “appalled” state department employees.

On October 3, the secretary of state delivered a keynote speech at a fundraising gala for the Florida Family Policy Council, an extreme anti-LGBT+ Christian organisation that advocates for conversion therapy and the repeal of same-sex marriage.

Concerns were first raised by members of Pompeo’s advance team, who flagged the group to their supervisors after they discovered anti-gay flyers when scoping out the site of the event, the Miami Herald reported.

Several other state department employees also raised complaints after learning that the group’s website offers LGBT+ people “help leaving the gay lifestyle”.

Lisa Kenna, executive secretary at the state department, was alerted to the concerns and attempted to mitigate fallout from the event.

Pompeo ultimately gave a virtual address for the fundraising gala, which filled a ballroom with roughly 700 guests, but one source described several aides as “appalled” it still took place despite their concerns.

They add that afterward, Mike Pompeo highlighted his appearance in his latest “Miles with Mike” message to department employees.

A state department spokesperson downplayed internal dissension over the secretary’s appearance at the event, but did not address the group’s views or answer questions on whether the secretary supports conversion therapy.

“The secretary was asked to speak to this group about the mission of the state department and he did. The secretary believes that organisations like Florida Family Policy Council are entitled to hear from him on important national security policy matters,” they told the Miami Herald.

“The secretary was not made aware of any concerns with respect to speaking before this group given that other major leaders have addressed this event.”

LGBT+ advocates have repeatedly raised alarm at Mike Pompeo’s efforts to undercut existing human rights, in particular his Commission on Unalienable Rights, which was created last year to address human rights laws that have supposedly “drifted from their original mission”.

The group is dominated by officials with anti-LGBT+ views, with seven of the 10 members having expressed these views publicly, and when the commission was announced, anti-LGBT+ activist Brian Brown said it was an “extraordinary opening” to reverse LGBT+ equality.

Apparently this was a step too far for even the Pope, who denied the secretary of state an audience at the Vatican earlier this month due to his use of “religious freedom” for political gain.

The Vatican later told Reuters that Mike Pompeo was refused because political figures are not received in election periods.