Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has challenged the claims of an NPR reporter who says that Pompeo verbally abused her.
NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly said last week that Pompeo cursed at her and repeatedly “used the F-word” in a shouted diatribe after she questioned him about Ukraine and the ousted American ambassador to Kiev during a nine-minute interview.
The next day, Pompeo refuted Kelly’s claims and accused her of setting him up and violating “the basic rules of journalism and decency” after she said Pompeo repeatedly cursed at her following their testy interview.
In a statement released after the incident, Pompeo said Kelly had lied to him twice – once in setting up the interview, and then again in agreeing to conduct their post-interview conversation “off the record.”
“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,” Pompeo said.
“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.”
The dispute centers on an interview that Kelly conducted with Pompeo for NPR’s “All Things Considered” program in which she asked him about Iran and former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, who was ousted by Trump last May.
Kelly said she had informed Pompeo’s aides that she would ask about Iran and Ukraine. During the interview, she posed several questions, including whether Pompeo owed an apology to Yovanovitch, who testified last year in the House impeachment inquiry about her ouster. The incident also has figured in Trump’s impeachment trial in the Republican-led Senate.
During the interview, Pompeo said he had only agreed to discuss Iran. Afterward, Kelly told NPR, he shouted and repeatedly cursed at her. She said that he also had aides bring a blank map of the world and asked Kelly to point to Ukraine, which she did, she told NPR.
NPR says it stands by Kelly’s account of the events, however, it is worth noting that in December 2018, NPR was forced to issue a lengthy correction after falsely accusing Donald Trump Jr. of lying to the Senate about plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, claiming his statements contradicted Michael Cohen’s plea deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller.