NPR Issues Statement After Journalist Is Berated By Pompeo

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On Friday, well-respected NPR journalist Mary Louise Kelly conducted an interview with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, which quickly became contentious after she pressed him on Ukraine matters.

Now, Pompeo has publicly accused her of lying to him “twice” after spewing quite an expletive-filled verbal lashing onto the journalist.

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According to NPR:

‘He does not explain how and offers no evidence. In their recorded interview from Friday, the nation’s top diplomat declined to respond when Kelly asked whether he owed an apology to Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. She was ousted from that post last year after allies of President Trump accused her of disloyalty.’

During the interview, Pompeo told her:

‘I agreed to come on your show today to talk about Iran.’

Kelly responded:

‘I confirmed with your staff last night that I would talk about Iran and Ukraine.’

She also reminded him that she had put her intention to do so in writing, saying:

‘I never agree to take any topics off the table.’

However, according to NPR:

‘Pompeo asserts Kelly again lied “in agreeing to have our post-interview conversation off the record.”‘

NPR reported:

‘That unrecorded conversation took place when the Pompeo aide who cut off the formal interview summoned Kelly to the secretary’s private living room.’

After the interview, Pompeo was waiting for Kelly in his private quarters. She told All Things Considered co-host Ari Shapiro:

‘He shouted at me for about the same amount of time as the [9-minute] interview itself had lasted. He was not happy to have been questioned about Ukraine. He asked, “Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?” He used the F-word in that sentence and many others.’

Kelly said:

‘He asked if I could find Ukraine on a map; I said yes. He called out for his aides to bring him a map of the world with no writing, no countries marked. I pointed to Ukraine. He put the map away. He said, “People will hear about this.”‘

Despite Pompeo’s claim that the conversation would be off record, Kelly said she did not agree to that. Although the staffer who led her to Pompeo’s quarters requested that she not bring a recorder, Kelly said “she did not say we were off the record, nor would I have agreed.”

In a Saturday statement, Pompeo further berated Kelly, saying:

‘It is shameful that this reporter chose to violate the basic rules of journalism and decency. This is another example of how unhinged the media has become in its quest to hurt President Trump and this Administration. It is no wonder that the American people distrust many in the media when they so consistently demonstrate their agenda and their absence of integrity.’

He also falsely implied that Kelly could not locate Ukraine on a map when indeed she could. He said:

‘It is worth noting that Bangladesh is NOT Ukraine.’

In response to his statement, five Democratic members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wrote in a letter to Pompeo:

‘We write to express our profound disappointment and concern regarding your irresponsible statement this morning about NPR Reporter Mary Louise Kelly and the corrosive effects of your behavior on American values and standing in the world. At a time when journalists around the world are being jailed for their reporting — and as in the case of Jamal Khashoggi, killed — your insulting and contemptuous comments are beneath the office of the Secretary of State.’

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