An NPR reporter said Friday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo exploded on her following an interview where she asked him about Ukraine.
NPR anchor Mary Louise Kelly said during “All Things Considered” Friday that Pompeo lashed out at her and demanded she find Ukraine on a map after an interview with him. The outburst lasted “about the same amount of time as the interview itself had lasted,” Kelly 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,” Kelly told co-host Ari Shapiro.
“He asked if I could find Ukraine on a map. I said yes, and he called out for aides to bring us a map of the world with no writing. I pointed to Ukraine. He put the map away. He said, ‘People will hear about this.'”
The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller.
Pompeo reportedly issued a statement on the outburst Saturday, according to Sara Cook, CBS News’ White House producer. Pompeo did not deny that he cursed Kelly out and called the media “unhinged.” Pompeo also implied that Kelly misidentified Ukraine on the map and said Kelly agreed that the post-interview conversation was off the record.
“It is shameful that this reporter chose to violate the basic rules of journalism and decency,” Pompeo said in the statement. “It is worth noting that Bangladesh is NOT Ukraine.”
This is an extraordinary statement by the Secretary of State. He calls the media “unhinged,” and implies that Kelly–a seasoned foreign policy reporter with a Masters in European Studies from Cambridge–misidentified Bangladesh as Ukraine on a map. pic.twitter.com/oHtBguCN2k
— Sara Cook (@saraecook) January 25, 2020
The incident reportedly happened after an on-the-record interview with Pompeo, which aired Friday. Kelly said an aide ended the interview after she asked if Pompeo owed former ambassador to Ukraine Marie L. Yovanovitch an apology.
“I’ve defended every single person on this team,” Pompeo replied before the interview ended. “I’ve done what’s right for every single person on this team. I’ve said all I’m going to say today. Thank you. Thanks for the repeated opportunity to do so. I appreciate that.”
The aide then asked Kelly to come with her, without a recorder, to Pompeo’s private living room, according to the NPR reporter. Kelly said that there was no specification this conversation was off the record and that she informed the State Department of her plans to report on Pompeo’s outburst.
The State Department did not respond to her, according to the New York Times. (RELATED: Pompeo Says People ‘Should Ask Mr. Soleimani’ If Trump Is Vulnerable Over Impeachment)
Yovanovitch has been a big figure in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. She testified last year that Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and two associates were responsible for a smear campaign against her before she was recalled from the position.
Pompeo has been accused of not protecting Yovanovitch from the alleged smear campaign, The Hill reported.