"Mike Pompeo" by Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0

Aides complained about Pompeo event with Florida group that backs gay conversion therapy

Oct 21, 2020

By Michael Wilner, Bryan Lowry, and Alex Daugherty

State Department employees complained this month after members of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s advance team discovered overtly anti-gay flyers when scoping out the site of a Florida event with a conservative Christian group that promotes conversion therapy for LGBTQ individuals.

Pompeo’s decision to address the Florida Family Policy Council was initially flagged by members of his advance team to their supervisors, and other State Department employees also complained after finding the group offers LGBTQ individuals “help leaving the gay lifestyle” on its website, according to two sources familiar with the internal protest.

Lisa Kenna, executive secretary at the State Department, was alerted to the concerns and attempted to mitigate fallout from the event.

Pompeo ultimately addressed the Florida group’s Oct. 3 event virtually. The gathering — which filled a ballroom in Orlando with roughly 700 guests — coincided with an outbreak of COVID-19 at the White House that infected President Donald Trump and some of his closest aides.

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