Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slammed comments from UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield that “slavery weaved white supremacy into our founding documents” — saying the remarks are “reprehensible” and should disqualify her from representing American interests around the world.
“America is a noble place,” Pompeo told “The Cats Roundtable” on WABC 770 AM in an interview that aired Sunday. “I heard our ambassador to the United Nations this week talk about our founding as fundamentally corrupt and flawed and not noble and good. I couldn’t disagree more.”
Thomas-Greenfield spoke about the “imperfect union” of America during a virtual speech last Wednesday at the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network conference.
“I have seen for myself how the original sin of slavery weaved white supremacy into our founding documents and principles. But I also shared these stories to offer up an insight, a simple truth I’ve learned over the years: Racism is not the problem of the person who experiences it,” she said in comments directed to the UN Human Rights Council.
Pompeo responded: “I think it’s disqualifying to have a UN ambassador who expresses a moral relativism and doesn’t understand the exceptional nature of the country in which we all live.”
“You see people wanting to immigrate here. You see people attracted to this shining city on the hill. To have our American ambassador to the United Nations denigrate the founding principles of the United States of America the way that she did this week is truly reprehensible,” he continued.
“In my view, if she truly believes that, she ought to resign and allow someone who believes in the greatness of America to take her place,” he said.
Thomas-Greenfield defended the remarks during an appearance Sunday on CBS News’ “Face the Nation.”
Thomas-Greenfield, who was confirmed in February by a 78-20 Senate vote, said her comments reflect where the country began, but she said “we need to look at where we’ve come.”
“The fact that I came from a segregated high school and I’m now the permanent representative of the United States at the United Nations says everything about what our country is about,” she said.
Host Margaret Brennan noted that the Wall Street Journal in an editorial on Friday called her the “Ambassador of Blame America First.”
The opinion piece said it sounded like she was reciting Chinese propaganda, and Brennan asked if she was comparing bigotry in American to atrocities carried out against minorities around the world.
“I was acknowledging what is a fact in the United States. Racism does exist in this country and I think it was a powerful message. Imagine any other country doing that,” Thomas-Greenfield said.
She said her speech was to “acknowledge our imperfections” while granting that “we are moving forward.”
“I don’t think you will see a Chinese Uyghur getting on the national stage acknowledging China’s issues with human rights. I am not comparing our situation. I am acknowledging that we’ve come a long way and I’m very proud of what we have been able to achieve,” she said.
“But I’m realistic about what we have to do moving forward. And I think if we are going to be a voice around the globe for raising issues of human rights, we cannot whitewash our own issues in our own country,” Thomas-Greenfield said.