“Very impressive, Mike,” Trump said, jovially. “That reporter couldn’t have done too good a job on you yesterday. I think you did a good job on her, actually.”
Trump was referencing a confrontation Pompeo had with NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly after an interview in which she asked him why he did not do more to defend Marie Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, amid a smear campaign that resulted in her losing her posting.
Pompeo cut off their interview and then proceeded to curse and yell at Kelly for asking about Ukraine, the reporter later said. She said he used profanity when he asked her angrily, “Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?” He then asked her to find Ukraine on a blank world map, which she says she did.
Pompeo did not apologize for his treatment of Kelly, instead issuing a statement in which he continued to attack her credibility, insisting that she had lied to him about the interview being about Iran. He also said their conversation after the interview was off the record, which she says she never agreed to.
Emails between Kelly and Pompeo’s staff obtained by The Washington Post show that she agreed that the subject of the interview would mostly be Iran but that she planned to also ask about Ukraine and any other topics “the news gods will serve up overnight.”
Trump’s seeming pleasure about Pompeo’s ill treatment of a member of the press isn’t surprising, given his own history of attacking journalists by name.
Trump’s description of Pompeo doing “a good job on” the female reporter in is line with the demeaning language the president frequently uses to describe women he dislikes.
Recently, Lev Parnas, a Ukrainian American business executive now under indictment on campaign-finance charges, made public a secretly recorded video at a small dinner in 2018 in which the president is heard telling someone to “get rid of” Yovanovitch.
“Get her out tomorrow. Take her out,” he says of the 33-year Foreign Service officer.