President Donald Trump isn’t happy when the media reports on the actions of him or members of his administration in a bad light — even when it might be well-deserved.
Sometimes, it results in him making threats, which aren’t always subtle gestures but rather more direct remarks over what he might do in order to retaliate against journalists who are merely doing their jobs.
On Friday evening, NPR journalist Mary Louise Kelly interviewed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and the issue of the Ukraine scandal came about. Pompeo shouldn’t have been surprised necessarily by the line of questioning — the issue is at the heart-and-center of what’s going on during the Senate impeachment trial in Washington.
Nevertheless, Pompeo appeared to be disgruntled by Kelly’s questions, the New York Times reported. When asked if he defended individuals like Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who appears to have been the victim of a smear campaign orchestrated by Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani (and his associates Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas), Pompeo said he conducted himself in a proper way.
“I’ve defended every single person on this team. I’ve done what’s right for every single person on this team,” he said.
After the interview ended, however, an aide of his instructed Kelly to meet with him in a separate office, without recording devices — where Kelly said he lashed out at her.
Kelly said Pompeo “shouted at me for about the same amount of time as the interview itself had lasted.” She also said he used the f-word toward her numerous times in his rant.
“He was not happy to have been questioned about Ukraine. He asked, ‘Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?’” Kelly said.
Pompeo later doubled-down on his behavior. In a statement, he accused Kelly of being “another example of how unhinged the media has become in its quest to hurt President Trump and this Administration,” the Washington Post reported.
A very good question! https://t.co/8z6uQLKz8M
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2020
Trump appeared to defend Pompeo’s actions, and on Sunday, quoted a tweet from conservative pundit Mark Levin, who asked, “Why does NPR exist?”
“A very good question!” Trump said in response.
NPR and its television counterpart PBS are regularly ranked as the most trusted media sources in the United States. Nevertheless, Trump has threatened several times to cut federal funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which helps to fund both NPR and PBS.