• InstaHunks: My brother is in town for the holidays, and that means we have to head down at some point to see the world-famous Chippendales (above) at the Rio Hotel here in Las Vegas. The sold-out show totally rocked. If you can’t get to Vegas, the Chipps just announced a 30 city tour beginning in late January. Click here for dates and tix. #Grrr
• JoeMyGod: A teenage boy who alleges sexual abuse by a priest killed the priest by shoving a crucifix down his throat.
• The Gaily Grind: Disney has cut a brief scene featuring Star Wars’ first same-sex kiss from its new movie “The Rise of Skywalker” in Singapore, a country where same-sex marriage is illegal and sex between men is punishable by up to two years in prison.
• KIT212: Kenneth has the lowdown on the what’s what in gay rags across the country like Chicago’s GRAB Magazine celebrating ‘The Men of Bullies and Biceps.”
• Washington Blade: Amid speculation Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will leave his position to pursue his old job as U.S. senator in Kansas, Donald Trump is considering U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell – who’s also the highest-ranking openly gay person in his administration – as a replacement.
• NY Times: Foreign teachers at some private schools in Indonesia have been required to answer questions and many more like them in what has been billed as a psychological exam to determine teachers’ sexual orientation and attitude toward gay rights. A 2015 government regulation prohibits international schools from hiring foreign teachers who have “an indication of abnormal sexual behavior or orientation.”
• HuffPost: Donald Trump likes to brag that he donates his $400,000 annual salary as president to charities. But according to folks tracking the Trumpster’s golf habit, his passion for the links has now cost taxpayers $118 million – or about 296 years of that presidential salary. Remember when he said if elected he’d “never leave the White House…?”
GOLF UPDATE — 27 DEC 2019:
Trump is at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach.
He has now spent 232 days on a golf course he owns in his 1,072 days in office.
It is his 67th day at his course in West Palm Beach.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has informed House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel that he plans to defy a congressional subpoena asking to interview five State Department employees.
Pompeo writes, “I’m concerned with aspects of the committee’s request that can be understood only as an attempt to intimidate, bully and treat improperly the distinguished professionals of the Department of State.”
“Let me be clear: I will not tolerate such tactics, and I will use all means at my disposal to prevent and expose any attempts to intimidate the dedicated professionals whom I am proud to lead and serve alongside at the Department of State,” he added.
On Friday, Engel informed Pompeo that “failure or refusal to comply with the subpoena shall constitute evidence of obstruction of the House’s impeachment inquiry.”
A new twist in the ongoing impeachment inquiry occurred yesterday when it was revealed Pompeo was on the now-infamous July 25 call between the president of Ukraine and Donald Trump when Trump pressed the Ukrainian leader to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
Flashback: Sept. 22
Q: WSJ is reporting Trump pressed the president of Ukraine to work with Giuliani to investigate Biden's son. What do you know about those conversations?
When asked about the phone call and subsequent investigation last week, Pompeo was evasive and vague during interviews seeming to have little information about the conversation.
From Pompeo’s letter today (via Twitter):
“This amounts to an attempt to circumvent the Executive Branch’s unquestionably legitimate constitutional interest in protecting potentially privileged information related to the conduct of diplomatic relations.
“Therefore, the five officials subject to your letter may not attend any interview or deposition without counsel from the Executive Branch present to ensure that the Executive Branch’s constitutional authority to control the disclosure of confidential information, including deliberative matters and diplomatic communications, is not impaired.”
I’m concerned with aspects of the Committee’s request that can be understood only as an attempt to intimidate, bully, & treat improperly the distinguished professionals of the Department of State, including several career FSOs. pic.twitter.com/QRtMaXlhQM
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued this statement recognizing June as LGBTI Pride Month:
The United States joins people around the world in celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) Pride Month, and reaffirms its commitment to protecting and defending the human rights of all, including LGBTI persons.
In many parts of the world, LGBTI individuals and their supporters continue to face violence, arrest, harassment and intimidation for standing up for their human rights, participating in peaceful marches and rallies, expressing their views, and simply being who they are. LGBTI persons – like all persons – must be free to enjoy their human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association, without fear of reprisal. As Americans, we place a high value on these rights and freedoms, which all persons deserve to enjoy fully and equally.
The United States stands firmly with you as you exercise your human rights and fundamental freedoms. We wish you a safe and happy Pride Month.
While the statement is certainly appreciated, especially from one of the most vital offices in the United States when it comes to human rights, it’s worth nothing that during his confirmation hearings Pompeo reiterated his opposition to same-sex marriage.
Sen. Cory Booker presses Mike Pompeo on past same-sex marriage views. Pompeo remains opposed, but wouldn’t say if he believes gay sex is a perversion and says he respects straight and gay people the same. https://t.co/i5rLynqCjJ
As CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s chances of being confirmed as the new Secretary of State get dimmer and dimmer, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders decried Senate Democrats’ lack of support for the nominee.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, appearing this morning on Fox News, called out Senate Democrats for “hating” the Donald more than they love their country.
“Look, at some point, Democrats have to decide whether they love this country more than they hate this president. And they have to decide that they want to put the safety and the security and the diplomacy of our country ahead of their own political games. And we’re very hopeful that they will. Mike Pompeo is a highly qualified individual, top of his class at Harvard, first in his class at West Point. He’s been an impeccable CIA director.”
Do none of these people remember Republicans blocked President Obama at every turn???
Hard to believe Obstructionists May vote against Mike Pompeo for Secretary of State. The Dems will not approve hundreds of good people, including the Ambassador to Germany. They are maxing out the time on approval process for all, never happened before. Need more Republicans!
As Trump accuses Democrats of obstructing Mike Pompeo’s confirmation, keep in mind that it only takes a majority vote in the Senate in order for Mike Pompeo to be confirmed. The Republicans have a majority, meaning it is impossible for Democrats to obstruct his confirmation.
John Kerry: 94-3
Hillary Clinton: 94-2
Condi Rice: 85-13
Colin Powell: Unanimous Voice Vote
What does history tell us? Members of both parties have long believed that U.S. national security is too important to play politics with Secretary of State nominees.#ConfirmPompeo
During Mike Pompeo’s confirmation hearing today for Secretary of State embarrassingly hemmed and hawed when asked by New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker on whether Pompeo still believes, as he had previously stated in a speech, that being gay is a “perversion” and same-sex marriage should not be legal.
Booker: So, you do not believe it’s appropriate for two gay people to marry? Pompeo: Sir, I continue to hold that view.
The response by Pompeo, a sputtering word salad of halted speech, made it clear that Pompeo was not happy to have to admit that he finds homosexuality a “perversion,” a word he chose to use in public speeches as a politician.
Just one aspect of the role of U.S. Secretary of State is to stand up for the human rights of people around the world.
How does one do that when they view an entire slice of humanity as “perverse?”
THIS is how a real Secretary of State handles the topic of LGBT rights:
• Fort Lauderdale proves itself to be one of the most LGBT-friendly cities in America with the election of openly gay Dean Trantalis as mayor. The Democrat easily defeated his Republican opponent Bruce Roberts by winning 64% of the vote.
• When word broke that the Department of Housing and Urban Development ordered a $31,000 dining table for HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s offices, we got quick denials that Carson knew nothing about the purchase. Recently released emails show, however, that Carson not only knew but picked out the new luxe new furniture with his wife.
• Donald Trump’s new pick for Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, has a terrible record on LGBTQ equality. From opposing marriage equality to fighting open military service by LGBTS, he’s been bad news for the community.
• Megan Rapinoe, the Olympic and World Cup champion soccer player who came out publicly several years ago, has signed a sponsorship deal with Bodyarmor sports drink.
• Ryan Worley of the Chippendales gives you an up-close peek at his totally awesome abs minutes after his Chipps calendar shoot. #Dang