This content is not available in your region

Pompeo berated, cursed at NPR reporter over Ukraine questions, she says

Access to the comments Comments
By Dartunorro Clark and Abigail Williams  with NBC News Politics
Image: Mike Pompeo
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, on Jan. 13, 2020.   -   Copyright  Jeff Chiu AP

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo berated and cursed at a National Public Radio reporter following a contentious exchange over Ukraine, the reporter said on Friday.

Pompeo was interviewed by NPR correspondent Mary Louise Kelly, who says he cut the interview short after she repeatedly pressed him on why he hasn't defended former Amb. Marie Yovanovitch. Yovanovitch was unceremoniously removed as the ambassador to Ukraine by President Donald Trump and has been a central figure in his impeachment.

Pompeo told her he was there to talk about Iran and that he has defended "every State Department official." When she asked him to specify when he has defended Yovanovitch specifically he said, "I've said all I'm going to say" and ended the interview.

She said that after the interview ended, Pompeo became unhappy, glared at her and left the room with his aides.

The aide soon returned to the interview room and took her to Pompeo's private living room where he screamed and cursed at her, she said.

"He was not happy to have been questioned about Ukraine, he asked, 'Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?' He used the F word in that sentence, and many others," she said.

"He asked if I could find Ukraine on a map I said, 'yes,' he called out for 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."

The State Department has not returned a request for comment.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee, which is chaired by Democrat Eliot Engel of New York and has oversight over State Department activities, criticized Pompeo in a tweet shortly after the interview on Friday.

"America's diplomats still can't understand why the Secretary won't support them," the committee said.