Mike Pompeo Pushes Back On Criticism Of U.S. Response To Mass Protests

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has apparently pushed back on criticism of the U.S. government's response to mass protests that have occurred in the U.S. following the death of George Floyd. Speaking to Radio Free Europe [video] during a visit to the Czech Republic on Wednesday, Pompeo pushed back against the “insulting” suggestion that America's moral sway was damaged by the government's response to mass protests, particularly by some controversial arrests of protesters by federal agents in unmarked cars in the U.S. state of Portland.

“America’s handling of protests in America on its home turf this year have led to some people commenting that — when they see, for example, unmarked vehicles picking people up off the streets of Portland — that this takes away from America’s moral authority to tell authoritarian regimes they’re behaving badly. Does it harm America’s image?” a reporter asked Pompeo. In response, he pushed back on the criticism. “Even your question is insulting. The difference between the United States and these authoritarian regimes couldn’t be more clear. We have the rule of law, we have the freedom of press. Every one of those people gets due process. When we have peaceful protesters, we create the space for them to say their mind, to speak their piece. Contrast that with what happens in an authoritarian regime,” Pompeo said to the reporter.

He continued. “To even begin to compare them, to somehow suggest that America’s moral authority is challenged by the amazing work that our police forces, our law enforcement people do all across America — I frankly just find the question itself incomprehensible and insulting.”

Pompeo had a previous similar interaction in July when he rejected a reporter's comparison of the White House forcibly driving protesters away from Lafayette Square, Washington, D.C. to Chinese authorities cracking down on dissident in Hong Kong.

“I think the question is so troubling,” Pompeo said, “because you ask the question assuming there is a moral equivalency between what takes place in these countries where they repress their people” and what takes place in the United States, he asserted.