Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) on Thursday expertly cornered Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo for his past statements about Muslims and his associations with people who hold bigoted views about Muslims.
In particular, Booker zeroed in on Pompeo's past statement that Muslims who do not condemn terrorist attacks in the United States are "complicit" in them. After establishing that Pompeo believes that Muslim leaders in the United States have a special "opportunity" to represent their faith well by condemning violent extremists, Booker turned to some of Pompeo's extremist associates and asked him whether he would consider calling them out.
Booker specifically asked Pompeo if he had ever condemned Frank Gaffney, an anti-Muslim extremist who has said that Muslims who "abide by the adherence of their faith should be tried for acts of sedition and should be prosecuted."
"Did you remain silent?" Booker asked. "Were you silent in your position of authority against these words?"
Pompeo tried to insist that he believed in treating people of all faiths equally, but Booker hammered him for refusing to answer his question.
"If that's your response, you did not say anything to call out his remarks," he said.
Booker then hit Pompeo for his association with Brigitte Gabriel, the founder of an anti-Islam organization that the Anti-Defamation League has called out for promoting "hateful conspiracy theories" about Muslims.
"Did you ever call her out?" Booker asked.
"I don't know," Pompeo admitted. "I can't recall statements I've made over 54 years."
Pompeo did say, however, that he once called out Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps.
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