Jan 25, 2020

Pompeo releases scathing statement against NPR reporter

Photo: Ezequiel Becerra/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released a scathing statement on Saturday against NPR's Mary Louise Kelly following an interview, claiming, their talk "is another example of how unhinged the media has become in its quest to hurt President Trump and this Administration," but not denying her account.

Context: Kelly interviewed Pompeo on Jan. 24 regarding U.S. policy in Iran and former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. Kelly claims Pompeo used multiple expletives in a private meeting that followed the interview.

What they're saying:

"NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly lied to me, twice. 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.
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.
It is worth noting that Bangladesh is NOT Ukraine."
— Mike Pompeo's full statement

What she's saying: "I was taken to the secretary's private living room where he was waiting and where he shouted at me for about the same amount of time as the interview itself. He was not happy to have been questioned about Ukraine," Kelly said in her report on NPR's "All Things Considered."

  • She previously confirmed to Axios that Pompeo brought out an unlabeled map and asked her to point out Ukraine.

NPR's senior vice president of news, Nancy Barnes: “Mary Louise Kelly has always conducted herself with the utmost integrity, and we stand behind this report.”   

Go deeper:

Go deeper

NPR reporter defends 1st Amendment rights after Mike Pompeo encounter

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

NPR's Mary Louise Kelly authored a New York Times op-ed Tuesday about her encounter with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and why she's refused to back down on her reporting.

What she's saying: "There is a reason that freedom of the press is enshrined in the Constitution," Kelly said. "There is a reason it matters that people in positions of power — people charged with steering the foreign policy of entire nations — be held to account. The stakes are too high for their impulses and decisions not to be examined in as thoughtful and rigorous an interview as is possible."

Go deeperArrowJan 29, 2020

NPR reporter: Mike Pompeo cursed, shouted at her for asking questions about Ukraine ambassador

Photo: Paul Hennessy / Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly says Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shouted at her and made her point to Ukraine on an unmarked map following an interview in which she asked him questions about the ouster of former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch Friday.

The big picture: Kelly confirmed to Axios that she was taken to Pompeo's private living room following the interview. There, she says he shouted and cursed at her and asked "do you think Americans care about Ukraine?", before asking aides to bring a world map for her to point to the country. The details were made public in a tweet from CNN's Daniel Dale.

Go deeperArrowJan 25, 2020

Pompeo says denying credentials to NPR sends "perfect message about press freedoms"

Photo: Natalia Fedosenko\TASS via Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended the State Department's decision to deny NPR press credentials for his trip to Europe following his confrontation with reporter Mary Louise Kelly, stating in an interview in Kazakhstan Sunday that it sends "a perfect message about press freedoms" to the world.

The backdrop: In an NPR interview in January, Kelly pressed Pompeo about his reluctance to defend former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch after she was the victim of a smear campaign. After the interview ended, Kelly says Pompeo took her into his private living room and berated her, asking if she could even find Ukraine on a map.