Political hacks who pretend to be objective media truth-seekers reportedly coerced a leading hostage-rights group to rescind its previously announced “Freedom Award” that was to go to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The outrageous move, according to the Washington Examiner, came after several in the media threatened they would disrupt and boycott the April 2 awards banquet unless a change was made, obviously to prevent the Trump administration from being given credit for freeing American prisoners around the world.
The James W. Foley Legacy Foundation, named after the journalist who was beheaded by ISIS in 2014, had announced online that Pompeo was to receive the prestigious 2019 Foley American Hostage Freedom Award. The banquet invitation urged supporters to contribute from $5000 to $50,000 a table.
The recognition of Pompeo was due to the administration’s focus on freeing Americans held hostage, a key foreign policy priority that has inspired the new position, “Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs.”
Quickly after the invitation was posted, the foundation changed its mind. They even disinvited Pompeo from attending the event out of fear that angry media members would make an unwelcome scene.
Ironically, the foundation’s tagline reads: Inspiring Moral Courage, One Person at a Time.
In a smooth political pivot, the group decided to give Pompeo’s award to Brett McGurk, an Obama-era diplomat who was involved in the release of Americans from Iran.
The Examiner reported: “Knowledgeable sources said the group’s ‘media partners’ promised to boycott the event if Pompeo got the award, apparently distressed over giving the administration any credit.”
Apparently keynote speaker Christiane Amanpour was one who of those who disagreed with Pompeo receiving the award.
In a carefully worded letter to Diane Foley, the mother of the slain journalist and the foundation’s president and founder, Secretary Pompeo called the media’s intimidation tactics “sad and cynical.” Ms. Foley had personally advised Pompeo of being chosen for the honor in her own note to him.
“I was truly honored to have been selected to receive the 2019 Foley American Hostage Freedom Award,” Pompeo’s letter read. “Jim’s life and his legacy inspire me in my work.”
Listing the high number of political prisoners who have been freed under the Trump administration, the secretary attacked the media’s politics intended to prevent giving the administration any credit.
“I understand that the Foundation decided to rescind the Freedom Award and my invitation to attend the 2019 James W. Foley Freedom Awards due to pressure from its media partners and your fear, stated in your letter, that some guests at the dinner would not show my office proper respect if I attended,” he said.
“How sad is it that base politics and hatred have been allowed to creep into even this sphere of our national activity? The safe recovery of Americans held hostage overseas should be beyond politics and must enjoy the support of all Americans. I regret that pressure of such a cynical and abominable nature was brought to bear on you and John,” he added, referring also to James Foley’s father.
Pompeo also insisted that “the ignoble conduct of those behind this sad deed will never diminish my commitment, of the commitment of the men and women I lead, to the safe recovery of all Americans unjustly held abroad.”
He noted that all the releases his team has won, saying, “This work has been accomplished without the concessions that only encourage more hostage taking by the kidnappers and terrorists.”
President Trump receives weekly updates on all Americans being held hostage, which of course emphasizes the importance he places on doing all that can be done to bring them home.
Hours before the dinner, Pompeo hosted at the State Department many past hostages and their families. He told them: “I want you all to have a personal relationship with us and get to know our hearts and our mission, the mission that we carry forward on behalf of your loved ones each and every day.”
He also asked them to look beyond those who are critical of the pace of success. “Please, too, don’t be discouraged by propaganda from our enemies. They want to divide us. They want to distract us from our mission to rescue your loved ones. Know that we are not distracted. I’d urge you to help us, be with us, and stay the course.”
— Martha MacCallum (@marthamaccallum) April 4, 2019
This is stunningly petty and awful. We all should see this as non-partisan work. I keep telling myself “this is it” with things like this and giving up on the media. This was so shocking to me I’m hoping I mean it this time. Aren’t we one country?
— Ron Morgan (@RonAtDove) April 4, 2019
As the late great Red Skelton famously would say, “Moses never got a dinner.” Sec Pompeo is in good company!
— Dennis Marshall (@D_Marshall_PMP) April 4, 2019
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