Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the American way of life was “under attack” and accused the New York Times of promoting the “Marxist” ideology with his controversial “Project 1619” in a speech Thursday.
Pompeo made these remarks by unveiling a new draft report from the Commission on Inalienable Rights. He said that while America had sometimes strayed from its founding principles, these same principles gave it a standard for judging its shortcomings and a political framework for progressing towards equality. He cited examples such as Brown vs Board of Education and the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr.
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“Yet today, the very core of what it means to be an American, makes it the American way of life itself, under attack,” said Pompeo. “Instead of seeking to improve America, too many dominant voices are promoting hatred of our founding principles.”
Pompeo was referring to some of the protests and riots that have taken place since the death of George Floyd. These protests led to a number of groups calling for the removal of statues and monuments from figures in American history – including Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and others -.
He also called the New York Times “Project 1619”. According to the Times, it “aims to reframe the history of the country by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.”
“The New York Times Project 1619, so named for the year the first slaves were transported to America, wants you to believe that our county was founded for human slavery, they want you to believe that American institutions continue to reflect the acceptance of the land of slavery when we were founded, they want you to believe the Marxist ideology that America is just the oppressors and the oppressed, “he said.
“The Chinese Communist Party must be happy when it sees the New York Times spurting out this ideology,” he said.
He went on to say that those who cut down desecrating statues and monuments have a “grim vision of the birth of America.”
“I reject it, it is a troubled reading of the history of America, it is a slander of our great people, nothing could be further from the truth of our discovery,” he said. .
He spoke when the report of the Commission on Inalienable Rights – created last year and made up of academics, philosophers, activists, Republicans, Democrats and independents – was released.
The commission is chaired by Harvard Law School professor and former U.S. ambassador to the Holy See Mary Ann Glendon. It was created to examine the role of human rights in American foreign policy.
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The State Department said last year that the commission was not created to define new principles or develop policies, but to anchor policy in existing principles. The commission came amid concerns from some Conservatives that rights were less focused on fundamental rights, such as those set out in the Declaration of Independence, and more on certain economic or social rights.
This, in turn, has been taken advantage of by countries like Russia, Iran and China, which some say has used it to mislead organizations like the UN. The United States left the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2018 because of concerns over its membership – which includes a number of countries with a catastrophic human rights history.
“Some countries, without categorically rejecting these principles, contest the fact that internationally recognized human rights are” universal, indivisible and interdependent international institutions and an excessive use of the language of rights which has a moderating effect on compromise and taking of democratic decision “, indicates the report.
He also notes that efforts have been made in the past by foreign actors with poor human rights backgrounds to use discord in the United States to undermine the cause of inalienable rights.
“Just as the Soviet Union did in 1948, China, Iran and Russia were quick to accuse our country’s internal failures of destroying its ability to defend universal human rights today” , indicates the report. “However, there can be no moral equivalence between countries that respect rights that fail to achieve their ideals and countries that trample regularly and massively on the human rights of their citizens.”
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But some human rights groups accused the commission of undermining international human rights efforts and expressed concern that the emphasis on religious freedom could be used “as a coat ”to attack human rights.
“From day one, the Trump-Pence administration withdrew and undermined the global human rights framework established in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948,” said the director of government affairs. from the Human Rights Campaign, David Stacy, in a press release. “As was clear from the outset, Secretary Pompeo’s Commission on Inalienable Rights was designed to challenge international consensus with a narrow view of human rights, which, among other things, would make LGBTQ people even more vulnerable to the violence and discrimination. ”
Rich Edson of Fox News contributed to this report.