Mike Pompeo has had a busy first few days of 2020. In the wake of last week’s Trump-ordered drone strike that killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, the secretary of state has been a fixture on cable news, regurgitating Iraq-invasion talking points and making specious claims about how the attack was justified because Soleimani posed an “imminent” threat to U.S. national security. He repeated them while speaking to reporters on Friday, declining to provide details. “This was going to happen,” was the most he could manage.
Shortly before he took the podium, however, Pompeo was able to take a breather from his propaganda duties to reflect on the year gone by, which included a military strike that resulted in the death ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and two children who accompanied him; bringing the U.S. to the brink of war with Iran; and, apparently, a whole hell of a lot of Linda Ronstadt’s Greatest Hits.
Pompeo laid it all out in a collage of images posted to his Twitter account. We can’t take issue with the presence of his dog, who seems like a good enough boy or girl.
A little late… but here’s a brief look back at 2019 + a few days into the new year! pic.twitter.com/Kc8REY0hQZ
— Mike Pompeo (@mikepompeo) January 10, 2020
Though Ronstadt’s presence in the collage is bizarre, Pompeo did cross paths with the singer-songwriter during a State Department dinner for the Kennedy Center Honorees in December. To conclude his speech introducing the evening, Pompeo threw a nod to Ronstadt, asking attendees, “As I travel the world, I wonder when will I be loved?,” a reference to the singer’s 1975 hit “When Will I Be Loved.”
Ronstadt answered him when she received her award: “I’d like to say to Mr. Pompeo, who wonders when he’ll be loved, it’s when he stops enabling Donald Trump.”
Ronstadt later recounted the incident in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “I didn’t plan to say anything, they told me I didn’t have to speak,” she said. “But Mike Pompeo during his speech was talking about me, at which time I said, ‘Take my name out of your mouth.’ I didn’t want to yell at him. It would have been rude.”
“If he’s wondering when he’s being loved, why leave it a rhetorical answer, why not just give him the answer,” she added. “Stop enabling Donald Trump.”
What’s unsettling about Pompeo’s tweet Friday morning isn’t his attempt to troll Ronstadt (or whatever he’s trying to do); it’s how flippantly he lumped pictures of his dog and family and favorite singer-songwriter in with a military strike that resulted in the death of two children, and the assassination of senior foreign official that could have very easily — and still could — lead to war with a nation of 80 million. To the Trump administration, it’s all a game, and every reckless geopolitical action they’re able to chalk up as a “win” on Fox News is fodder for a cork-board memory collage, regardless of the human toll.