Pompeo spox fires back after NPR host accuses him of exploding with F-bombs: ‘She couldn’t find Ukraine on map’

(“Politics and Prose” video screenshot/State Department Flickr)

An NPR host who during an interview Friday harangued Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about the Trump administration’s Ukraine policy now claims that following the interview’s abrupt termination, Pompeo verbally accosted and tried to humiliate her.

“[A]n aide stopped the interview and said, ‘We’re done, thank you,’ and you heard me thank the secretary. He did not reply. He leaned in, glared at me, and then turned and with his aides left the room,” NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly told her colleagues following the interview.

“Moments later, the same staffer who had stopped the interview reappeared, asked me to come with her — just me, no recorder — though she did not say we were off the record, nor would I have agreed. I was taken to the secretary’s private living room where he was reading and where he shouted at me for about the same amount of time as the interview itself had lasted.”

A transcript of the interview published Friday afternoon by NPR shows that 1785 words were spoken prior to its abrupt end. Given that the average person speaks about 100 to 130 words per minute, the interview presumably lasted between roughly 13 to 17 minutes …

Listen to the rest of Kelly’s story below (disable your adblocker if the video doesn’t appear):

“He was not happy to have been questioned about Ukraine,” the NPR host continued. “He asked, ‘Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?’ He used the F-word in that sentence, and many others.”

According to Kelly, the secretary then asked her if she “could find Ukraine on a map” and then made her prove that she could indeed.

“He asked if I could find Ukraine on a map. I said yes,” she explained. “He called out to 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,’ and then he turned and said he had things to do, and I thanked him again for his time and left.”

In a statement issued to Fox News late Friday, a State Department spokesperson didn’t deny what Pompeo had allegedly said but did push back on the NPR host’s claim that she’d successfully been able to pinpoint Ukraine on a map.

“A State Department official disputed Kelly’s claim, telling Fox News that she was not able to identify Ukraine on the map and that she was wrong,” FNC reported.

During the interview earlier that morning, Kelly began hassling the secretary of state about Ukraine, prompting Pompeo to remind her that he’d “agreed to come on your show today to talk about Iran.”

“You know, I agreed to come on your show today to talk about Iran,” he said. “That’s what I intend to do. I know what our Ukraine policy has been now for the three years of this administration. I’m proud of the work we’ve done.”

“This administration delivered the capability for the Ukrainians to defend themselves. President Obama showed up with MREs [meals ready to eat]. We showed up with Javelin missiles. The previous administration did nothing to take down corruption in Ukraine. We’re working hard on that. We’re going to continue to do it.”

The host ignored his remark and continued plastering him with questions about Ukraine, going so far as to ask whether he owed discredited former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch an apology.

The question seemed to be predicated on the belief that all the accusations made by congressional Democrats and their witnesses against the Trump administration are valid, including the claim that Yovanovitch was unfairly removed from her post by the president last year. But some of these have in fact been shown to be outright lies.

Listen to some of the interview (disable your adblocker if the video doesn’t appear):

Kelly also brought up testimony from Democrat witness Michael McKinley, who previously served as Pompeo’s top senior adviser.

“[He] testified under oath that he resigned in part due to the failure of the State Department to offer support to Foreign Service employees caught up in the impeachment inquiry on Ukraine,” she said.

“I’m not going to comment on things that Mr. McKinley may have said. I’ll say only this. I have defended every State Department official. We’ve built a great team. The team that works here is doing amazing work around the world,” Pompeo replied.

“Sir, respectfully, where have you defended Marie Yovanovitch?” Kelly pressed.

“I’ve defended every single person on this team. I’ve done what’s right for every single person on this team,” Pompeo replied.

“Can you point me toward your remarks where you have defended Marie Yovanovitch?” the host repeated.

The implication was that he was lying.

Listen:

Yovanovitch was removed from his team by the president last year.

After Pompeo answered some more of Kelly’s questions, he then reportedly got up and prematurely ended the interview, presumably in frustration.

Vivek Saxena

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