Cory Booker: Champion of Islam and…Gay Rights?
Cory Booker’s political star has fallen quite a bit since he was the insurgent mayor of Newark, New Jersey, but he has managed to get himself a nice, cozy spot in Washington by riding on his early-career fame. But if the Democratic senator still thinks he has a shot at grabbing the party’s presidential nomination in 2020, he should probably avoid embarrassing himself the way he did in Mike Pompeo’s confirmation hearings this week. It’s one thing to virtue signal to the progressive left; it’s quite another to spend your questioning time grilling the next Secretary of State about “gay sex” and the rights of Muslims. And that’s not even getting into the inherent contradictions of those being your top two concerns.
“In a speech you talked about folks who worshiped other gods and called it multiculturalism,” Booker said to begin his questioning. “You sort of mourned that we live in a country where that happens. Do you have any views that the Muslim faith or people who believe in worshiping ‘Other gods,’ is that just something negative in our country?”
Pompeo quickly and professionally denied the implication. “I work closely with Muslim leaders, with Muslim countries,” he said. “The CIA has saved thousands of Muslim lives during my 15 months. This is at the core of who I am, Senator Booker. I promise I will treat persons of each faith or no faith with the dignity and respect they deserve.”
Booker conceded Pompeo’s point about his tenure in the CIA before circling back to remarks Pompeo has made about the Islamic community failing to speak out against terrorist attacks.
“You said that people who are silent are complicit in those terrorist attacks,” Booker said. “Do you think that Muslim Americans in this country who serve in our military, who serve in the State Department, their failure to speak up, is that — are they complicit in terrorist attacks?”
On this point, to our immense satisfaction, Pompeo did not find it necessary to back down.
“Senator, each and every human, not just Americans, each and every human being has an obligation to push back against this extremist use of violence, from whatever faith,” he replied.
“But you don’t create a special class of people in this country based upon their religion that have a special obligation to condemn terrorist attacks?” Booker pressed.
Pompeo: “No, senator. Having said that, and we talked about this yesterday, I’m not sure we ended up agreeing, but perhaps we did. I also do believe this firmly, that for certain places, there are folks who are more credible, who have a more shared experience. And so when it comes to — when it comes to making sure that we don’t have a terrorist brewing in places where Muslims congregate, it’s more than a duty or a requirement. It’s an opportunity.“
As far as we can tell, Pompeo knocked it out of the ballpark with this answer, and we think the majority of Americans in both parties would agree. No, the extreme left – which is being used like a weapon by Islamist interests – will not agree, but that’s no slight against Pompeo. Certainly, if CAIR were to come out with another statement condemning his appointment as Secretary of State, it would only solidify in our minds his appropriateness for the position.
What really struck us, though, was how seamlessly Booker moved from the reputation of Muslims – of paramount importance in his mind – to the issue of gay rights. After going around and around with Pompeo about his views in regards to gay marriage, Booker ended his questioning with this sanctimonious speech:
“I will conclude by saying, sir, you’re going to be secretary of state of the United States at a time that we have an increase in hate speech and hate actions against Jewish-Americans, Muslim-Americans, Indian-Americans, hate acts are on the increase in our nation. You’re going to be representing this country and their values abroad in nations where gay — gay individuals are under untold persecution, untold violence. Your views do matter. You’re going to be dealing with Muslim states and on Muslim issues, and I do not necessarily concur that you are putting the values of our nation first when you believe that there are people in our country that are perverse and where you think that you can create different categories of Americans and their obligations when it comes to condemning violence.”
This is a statement of such moral confusion that we find it difficult to believe that it even represents Booker’s true feelings. How could you know anything at all about the teachings of the Muslim faith and think you can both condemn criticism of Muslims and criticism of someone who doesn’t believe in gay marriage? How could you NOT believe that adherents to Islam don’t have a special obligation to speak out against a form of terrorism that SOLELY originates within Islam? How could you demand that Pompeo walk away from his own religious beliefs while championing the religious beliefs of Muslims?
Booker really exposed himself as nothing more than a political charlatan in this embarrassing forum, and we have a feeling it’s going to cost him when it comes time for Democrats to decide who to nominate in 2020.
Then again, it is the Democrats we’re talking about, so who knows…