Mike Pompeo Angrily Responds to NPR Reporter’s Accusation, Doesn’t Deny, Doubles Down

NPR’s All Things Considered co-host Mary Louise Kelly on Friday said that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo peppered her with f-bombs and demanded she point out Ukraine on a map in a fit of temper after abruptly ending their interview. On Saturday, Pompeo released a response to the accusation that did not deny any of Kelly’s claims but nevertheless still called her a liar.

Pompeo was roundly criticized over the alleged moment by members of the media on Twitter overnight. But the Secretary of State’s response didn’t come out until Saturday. In it, he accuses Kelly of lying when she set up the interview, and of violating an “off the record” agreement.

“NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly lied to me, twice,” reads the statement. “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.”

Pompeo also brought up President Donald Trump, invoking the administration’s main theme that the press is collectively out to get them.

“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,” he said.

When Kelly first went public with the story, she noted that Pompeo asked her if she could find Ukraine on a map and that, when she said she could, he had aides bring in a map so she could point it out.

“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. He asked if I could find Ukraine on a map. I said yes,” she said. “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 his statement on Saturday, Pompeo closed by alluding to that moment and implying that Kelly had wildly misidentified Ukraine.

“It is worth noting that Bangladesh is NOT Ukraine,” it reads.

This was an official statement on State Department letterhead.

Pompeo originally walked out of the interview after being asked about former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.