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Sanders Applauded for Vow to Vote 'No' on Pompeo as Hundreds of Groups Urge Senate to Reject 'Unfit' Choice

"His repeated advocacy for war, Islamophobia, climate change denial, hostility to human rights, including reproductive and LGBT rights, and support for torture make him dangerous and unfit to be a chief architect of U.S. foreign policy."

CIA Director Mike Pompeo was nominated by President Donald Trump to lead the State Department, following Rex Tillerson's ouster. (Photo: Mark Taylor/Flickr/cc)

Anti-war and civil rights advocates applauded Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) after he announced Monday that he would oppose CIA Director Mike Pompeo's nomination for Secretary of State—and urged Americans to tell their senators to do the same.

Sanders's tweeted statement came after nearly 70 national organizations including Americans for Peace Now, Peace Action, and Win Without War signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) demanding that the Senate reject Pompeo's nomination. His confirmation hearing is scheduled to begin on Thursday.  

"Pompeo promotes principles and policies that are antithetical to American values," read the letter.  

As Sanders noted, Pompeo has denied the consensus by scientists that human activity has contributed to the climate crisis and has called the notion that climate change presents a national security threat—promoted by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle—"ignorant, dangerous and absolutely unbelievable."

The CIA Director has also defended the use of torture and has argued against the closing of Guantanamo Bay, which human rights groups say has violated  the human rights of detainees since it opened in 2002.  

Also on Monday, more than 200 civil rights groups signed a separate letter to senators highlighting Pompeo's history of racism, xenophobia, and hostility to human rights, including reproductive and LGBT rights, as reasons for their objection to the former congressman.

"Mr. Pompeo has a troubling history of statements and policy positions that have alienated marginalized communities, which raises serious doubts about his ability to represent all in America and promote human rights for all individuals abroad," wrote the groups, which included the NAACP, Human Rights Campaign, and NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Pompeo's confirmation, along with that of Gina Haspel—who oversaw torture programs while working at the CIA and who has been nominated as Pompeo's successor there—would endanger both Americans and countless others around the world, wrote Robert Crawford, a professor at University of Washington, in the Seattle Times on Tuesday.

"The Haspel and Pompeo nominations must be defeated on the interconnected grounds of rejecting torture, rejecting Islamophobia, and rejecting aggressive war," wrote Crawford. "Now is the time to stand for these fundamental values upon which the integrity, well-being, and safety of the republic depend."

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