Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took a baseball bat to ABC before members of the traveling press corps en route from Panama to Mexico City.
ABC reported Thursday that an anonymous Turkish source told the network that Pompeo had heard an “alleged” audio recording of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi being murdered.
ABC reported that Pompeo heard the recordings and was given a transcript of them. In the story, Pompeo denies this claim through State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert.
“I’ve seen no tape,” Pompeo told White House reporters. “I’ve seen no – or I’ve heard no tape. I’ve seen no transcript. And the network that reported that ought to pull down the headline that says I have.”
When Nauert tried to end the presser, Pompeo continued to talk to reporters.
“Do you work for ABC?” he asked one.
The reporter did not work for ABC.
No matter. Pompeo had a message for the network.
“You should actually ask them,” he said. “They’re peers of yours. You should tell them that the Secretary of State is on the record saying this, and that they shouldn’t – they shouldn’t do that. This is wrong to do to the fiancé of Khashoggi. We should be factual when we’re reporting things about this.”
“This is a very serious matter that we’re working diligently on. And so to put out headlines that are factually false does no one any good. You should encourage all your colleagues to behave that way. It’s most constructive when the media tells the truth. It’s very useful.”