1. Letter
  2. Middle East & Iran, U.S. Wars & Militarism

FCNL Urges Senators to Ask Tough Questions on Pompeo

By Susan Nahvi, April 6, 2018


On April 5, FCNL’s Executive Secretary Diane Randall sent a letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee urging them to closely examine Mike Pompeo’s record before voting on his nomination for Secretary of State.

Given Mr. Pompeo’s previous statements on pulling out of the Iran Deal, Islamophobic comments, and lenient approach to torture, FCNL has serious concerns about his appointment as the nation’s leading diplomat. In the following letter, Diane Randall encourages the committee members to seek certain assurances before deciding on his nomination.

Dear Senator,

As the Senate weighs President Trump’s nomination of Mike Pompeo to serve as the next Secretary of State, the Friends Committee on National Legislation urges you to closely examine how his past record and current positions will protect our country’s values and our security. The Secretary of State must be someone who is a strong advocate for effective diplomacy and respects the congressional role in decisions about when our country goes to war.

As a faith community, we also believe that the Secretary of State – as the public face of our country abroad – must fully represent and publicly articulate support for religious freedom. We urge you to use the confirmation process to reaffirm our country’s policy of zero tolerance toward any discrimination based on religion or national origin.

FCNL’s statement of legislative policy, developed by Quakers around the country, notes, “diplomacy, responsible development, the rule of law and international cooperation are the most effective and principled means of global conflict prevention and resolution.” My staff are ready to assist you in carefully reviewing the record of the nominee to examine whether he can fully represent the best of American values and strengthen the diplomatic efforts of the State Department around the world.

In particular, we urge you to seek assurances from Mike Pompeo that he will

  • Recommend to the president that the U.S. remain a party to the Iran Deal as long as the IAEA continues to verify that Iran is upholding its obligations under the JCPOA. By May 12, President Trump must decide either to waive specified sanctions against Iran or withdraw from the deal by violating its terms. The IAEA continues to verify that Iran has upheld its commitments under the agreement, and Secretary of Defense Mattis has said the U.S. should remain a party to the deal. More than 100 top national security experts, including former U.S. diplomats from both major political parties, have called for upholding the JCPOA, highlighting that it blocks Iran’s pathways to a nuclear weapon.

  • Recommend to the president that he secure explicit congressional authorization before launching a preventive attack on Iran or North Korea. In 2002 President Bush sought Congress’ explicit authorization prior to using military force against Iraq. The people of the United States need leaders who recognize the devastating effects that war with North Korea or Iran would have on civilians, who will pursue every opening for diplomacy, and who will respect the constitutional power that Congress has over the choice to take our nation to war.

Without these assurances, we do not believe that Mike Pompeo should be confirmed as the next Secretary of State. The stakes are simply too high.

We also hope that you will use the confirmation process to question Mike Pompeo about the following issues.

  • Religious Freedom: When serving in Congress, Mr. Pompeo suggested that Muslim leaders were “potentially complicit” in terrorism after the Boston Marathon bombing. He also stated that the threat of terrorism in the United States “is from people who deeply believe that Islam is the way and the light and the only answer.”

  • Given these statements, please ask Mr. Pompeo how he will assure our diverse society that he would represent all Americans and is not hostile to Muslim Americans. How will he work to bring us together as a nation that includes many people of different religions, rather than pushing us apart?

  • Relations with the Muslim World: Please ask Mr. Pompeo how, as the nation’s top diplomat, he will build relationships of trust with the representatives of the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims, particularly given past statements that many faith leaders have interpreted as anti-Muslim.

  • Strengthening the State Department: Because the Trump administration has not appointed or nominated people to key State Department posts, many diplomatic functions have been crippled. President Trump has proposed a nearly 30% cut in the State Department budget for FY 19. Congress has consistently rejected these funding cuts as a threat to the nation. But the department needs a strong leader who will advocate for a sustained investment in diplomacy and development efforts.

  • Please ask Mr. Pompeo how he will ensure that the State Department is effective and fully resourced to carry out core diplomatic functions on behalf of our country.

  • Ruling out Torture: During his confirmation hearing as CIA Director, Mr. Pompeo refused to unequivocally state his opposition to waterboarding.

  • Please ask Mr. Pompeo if he will oppose the use of waterboarding and other so-called enhanced interrogation techniques and urge the president to veto any proposed changes to U.S. law that would allow for these practices that are currently illegal under both U.S. and international law.

The Senate’s responsibilities to advise and consent to the president’s appointments under Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution are central to our government’s effective functioning. We appreciate your care and review as you carry out these essential tasks.

Thank you,

Diane Randall

Executive Secretary

Click below to download a PDF version of the letter.

Susan Nahvi

  • Major Gifts Officer

Traveling throughout the U.S., Susan connects passionate individuals with opportunities to support FCNL's work. She meets with FCNL's most loyal supporters, learning what motivates them to advocate for peace, justice, opportunity, and an earth restored.