Secretary of State Mike Pompeo used his final moments in office on Tuesday to trash the American tradition of multiculturalism, tweeting that, “Woke-ism, multiculturalism, all the -isms — they're not who America is.”
“They distort our glorious founding and what this country is all about,” he added. “Our enemies stoke these divisions because they know they make us weaker.”
The comments angered politicians and former diplomats alike, and marked a striking change in tone from past secretaries, who frequently seek to promote tolerance and multiculturalism in their role as the nation’s top diplomat.
Woke-ism, multiculturalism, all the -isms — they're not who America is. They distort our glorious founding and what this country is all about. Our enemies stoke these divisions because they know they make us weaker. pic.twitter.com/Mu97xCgxfS
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 19, 2021
Like all Americans who aren’t descended from indigenous people, Mr Pompeo’s family arrived in the country as immigrants, in his case from the Italian region of Abruzzo.
As a proud son of Abruzzo, I’m honored to visit my ancestors’ birthplace and to meet the wonderful people of Pacentro. More than 18 million Americans share Italian roots, and they continue to contribute to the story of American Greatness. pic.twitter.com/mFEZuRNETq
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) October 3, 2019
The State Department did not respond to a request for comment from The Independent.
The comments provoked outrage and disbelief from politicians and diplomats.
California congressman Ted Lieu highlighted the irony of the remarks coming from someone with Mr Pompeo’s background, writing, “Either you are a hypocrite, or you believe you are stoking divisions by being multicultural.”
Others, like former US ambassador to Senegal Lewis Lukens, suggested that the outgoing administration, which so helped encourage rage across the country that a mob of pro-Trump demonstrators stormed the Capitol to halt the democratic process, might not be the people to be preaching about stopping division.
“Talk about not reading the room,” he wrote on Twitter.
Talk about not reading the room.
— Lewis Lukens (@LukensLewis) January 19, 2021
Not that this message of anti-multiculturalism is particularly shocking from the State Department under the Trump administration.
Black, Hispanic, and Asian people only make up about 15 percent of the US diplomatic corps, and one of the president’s signature campaign promises was a “total and complete shutdown" of Muslims entering the US.