Mike Pompeo Freaked Out at an NPR Reporter Friday. He Just Released a Statement That Is…Not Good.

Michael Candelori/ZUMA

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On Friday, NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly revealed a loony interaction she had with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo following an interview in which she had the temerity to ask about the scandal at the heart of the President’s current impeachment trial, one in which Pompeo himself has been implicated.

“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,” she said. “I pointed to Ukraine. He put the map away. He said, ‘People will hear about this.'”

I have some questions about this: How long did it take the aides to find a map of the world with no words on it? Did they print it out? Do they have it handy? Is this a quick quiz Pompeo often imposes on visitors? Separately, and most importantly, does Trump’s Secretary of State think this is appropriate behavior? 

On Saturday, Pompeo released a statement that didn’t explain the provenance of the wordless map but does shed light on his views about professionalism. It…isn’t good.

A bunch of Trumpian nonsense about the media being the real villain is not surprising with this administration, but the last line is what makes this really blow my mind.

“It is worth noting that Bangladesh is NOT Ukraine.”

Pompeo is saying that Mary Louise Kelly, who graduated from Harvard with degrees in French and European Studies, has a masters from Cambridge in European Studies, and served as NPR national security correspondent for years, didn’t know where Ukraine was. He’s also saying she lied in her statement yesterday. There is no reason on earth to believe Mary Louise Kelly does not know where Ukraine is. It’s even more preposterous that she confused it with Bangladesh! There is also no reason to doubt her account of the event. But these details naturally do not impede Pompeo from doubling down and attacking her.

A man after Trump’s heart!

Here is the interview that set Pompeo off. The least he deserves is that you give it a listen.

 

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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