Per ABC News, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attacked a National Public Radio reporter in a blistering statement Saturday after the network said the top U.S. diplomat admonished her using expletives, called her a liar and demanded she find Ukraine on a map.
Here is Pompeo’s official statement.
From Fox News
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded Saturday following media reports that said he scolded an NPR reporter after they sat for an interview — one that Pompeo claimed afterward had strayed from an agreement he had reached with the journalist.
In the statement, Pompeo claimed Mary Louise Kelly lied to him, called her behavior “shameful” and insinuated she mistook a country in South Asia for Ukraine on a map.
“NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly lied to me, twice,” Pompeo said in the statement.
“First, last month, in setting up our interview and, then again yesterday, in agreeing to have our post-interview conversation off the record. It is shameful that this reporter chose to violate the basic rules of journalism and decency.”
Secretary Pompeo doubles down, saying @NPRKelly lied, that the interaction was “another example of how unhinged the media has become,” and suggests that she was thousands of miles off in identifying Ukraine on a map, which… pic.twitter.com/NoevQglkKJ
— Ben Swasey (@benswasey) January 25, 2020
NPR has denied both claims.
Pompeo called the confrontation another example of how an “unhinged” media wants to hurt the Trump 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.”
After Pompeo’s statement, journalists and congressional Democrats rushed to Kelly’s defense.
Jason Rezaian of The Washington Post, for example, called Pompeo’s statement “a shameful assault on #PressFreedom.”
That comment drew a sharp rebuke from Andrew Surabian, a former special assistant to President Trump.
“In what universe is complaining about a reporter breaking an off the record agreement an ‘assault on press freedom’?” Surabian wrote.
“If @NPRKelly did indeed break an off the record agreement, she should be fired & her colleagues should be condemning her, not holding her up as a resistance hero.”
In what universe is complaining about a reporter breaking an off the record agreement an "assault on press freedom?"
— Andrew Surabian (@Surabees) January 25, 2020