Mike Pompeo has defended his decision to address an overtly anti-LGBT+ group which reportedly led to an internal protest among “appalled” state department employees.
On October 3, the secretary of state delivered a keynote speech at a fundraising gala for the Florida Family Policy Council, an extreme anti-LGBT+ Christian organisation that advocates for conversion therapy and the repeal of same-sex marriage.×
Concerns were first raised by members of Pompeo’s advance team, who flagged the group to their supervisors after they discovered anti-gay flyers when scoping out the site of the event, the Miami Herald reported.
Several other state department employees also raised complaints after learning that the group’s website offers LGBT+ people “help leaving the gay lifestyle”.
Lisa Kenna, executive secretary at the state department, was alerted to the concerns and attempted to mitigate fallout from the event.
Pompeo ultimately gave a virtual address for the fundraising gala, which filled a ballroom with roughly 700 guests, but one source described several aides as “appalled” it still took place despite their concerns.
They add that afterward, Mike Pompeo highlighted his appearance in his latest “Miles with Mike” message to department employees.
A state department spokesperson downplayed internal dissension overthe secretary’s appearance at the event, but did not address the group’s views or answer questions on whether the secretary supports conversion therapy.