After Pompeo received a standing ovation from the crowd on Tuesday, Trump made light of a recent spat between Pompeo and NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly.
“That was impressive,” Trump said after the applause, “That was very impressive, Mike. That reporter couldn’t have done too good a job on you yesterday. Think you did a good job on her, actually.”
Watch his comments below:
President Trump: "Our great Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo. That’s impressive. That was very impressive, Mike. That reporter couldn't have done too good a job on you yesterday. Think you did a good job on her, actually." https://t.co/eHJgOQYdVQ pic.twitter.com/4x9aH0yGcS— The Hill (@thehill) January 28, 2020
Trump appeared to be referencing an incident that occurred between Pompeo and Kelly after an interview.
Over the weekend, Kelly said Pompeo scolded her after the interview for asking about Ukraine. She also said Pompeo asked her to point out Ukraine on an unlabelled map.
“He was not happy to have been questioned about Ukraine,” Kelly said, adding that Pompeo asked if she thought Americans “care about Ukraine.”
“‘Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?’ He used the F-word in that sentence and many others.”
In a statement, Pompeo accused Kelly of breaking their agreement that the conversation would be off the record.
“It is shameful that this reporter chose to violate the basic rules of journalism and decency. This is another example of how unhinged the media has become in its quest to hurt President Trump and this administration.”
Pompeo also suggests that Kelly had agreed to avoid asking about Ukraine during the interview, as The Washington Post reports. But emails show that she wrote to Pompeo’s press aide, “I never agree to take anything off the table.”
The New York Times reports that it reviewed emails between Kelly and the State Department before the interview and found her statement to be true.
Democratic senators criticized Pompeo for his “irresponsible” comments and said his behavior has harmed “American values and standing in the world.”