Senators to Sec. Pompeo: Your Insults and Attacks on NPR Journalist are Beneath the Office of the Secretary of State

Senators to Sec. Pompeo: Your Insults and Attacks on NPR Journalist are Beneath the Office of the Secretary of State

WASHINGTONU.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was joined by Senators Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) in sending a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressing serious concerns about an official State Department statement issued earlier today attacking NPR’s All Things Considered co-host Mary Louise Kelly. The Secretary’s statement follows an NPR report from Kelly which revealed Pompeo shouted and swore at her for asking about his refusal to defend Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch during an interview on Friday.

“At a time when journalists around the world are being jailed for their reporting — and as in the case of Jamal Khashoggi, killed — your insulting and contemptuous comments are beneath the office of the Secretary of State,” wrote the Senators. “Instead of calling journalists ‘liars’ and insulting their intelligence when they ask you hard questions you would rather not answer, your oath of office places on you a duty and obligation to engage respectfully and transparently.”

Ranking Member Menendez previously demanded the Trump Administration come clean in outlining the steps it has taken to ensure Ambassador Yovanovitch’s safety and the safety of all U.S. personnel stationed in Kyiv. Menendez has also sent separate inquiries to the State Department regarding the safety of officials who honored their oath to the Constitution and testified before the House of Representatives during the impeachment probe. Those letters can be found HEREHERE and HERE

 

A copy of the Senators’ letter to Secretary Pompeo today can be found HERE.

 

The Honorable Michael R. Pompeo

Secretary of State

U.S. Department of State

2201 C Street N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20520

Dear Mr. Secretary,

We write to express our profound disappointment and concern regarding your irresponsible statement this morning about NPR Reporter Mary Louise Kelly and the corrosive effects of your behavior on American values and standing in the world. 

At a time when journalists around the world are being jailed for their reporting — and as in the case of Jamal Khashoggi, killed — your insulting and contemptuous comments are beneath the office of the Secretary of State.

The importance of a free press is enshrined in our Constitution precisely because the Founders recognized how vital a free press is for the public to hold their government accountable. Such accountability is paramount to any free and democratic nation. Instead of calling journalists “liars” and insulting their intelligence when they ask you hard questions you would rather not answer, your oath of office places on you a duty and obligation to engage respectfully and transparently.

Sincerely,

Press Contact

Juan Pachon (202) 224-4651