Mike Pompeo, Donald Trump’s former CIA director and secretary of state, tried to grab the lead in the Republican race to the bottom when he declared just before Thanksgiving that “the most dangerous person in the world is Randi Weingarten” and asserted that the nation’s educators teach “filth.”
To explain why he chose the leader of the American Federation of Teachers for that dubious honor over the dictators of Russia, China and North Korea, Pompeo told his interviewer, “If you ask, ‘Who’s the most likely to take this Republic down?’ it would be the teachers unions.”
There’s little doubt that Pompeo went after the AFT president and the nation’s teachers to curry favor with the extremist wing of the GOP as he tries to launch a run for president in 2024. Weingarten ticks all the boxes for the far-right: she’s Jewish, gay, female, a teacher and pro-union.
With Nancy Pelosi stepping down as house speaker, Pompeo probably thought Weingarten was a logical successor as the powerful, outspoken woman whom the right-wing voters would love to hate.
In a different era, you could dis-miss such an ill-conceived comment as a political stunt. But coming less than a month after the brutal hammer attack on Pelosi’s husband Paul, it was downright dangerous. As we saw on Jan. 6, 2021, extremist rhetoric can quickly turn into extremist violence.
Shame on Pompeo.