After a conservative radio host questioned the mere existence of NPR, President Trump confirmed that notion, writing, “A very good question!”
Mark Levin, a bomb-throwing Trump sycophant, who is both a conservative radio and Fox News host, tweeted out an anti-NPR statement in the aftermath of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s ornery interview with an NPR national security reporter on Friday. The president took Levin’s tweet as an opportunity to champion a cause that he’s pushed for in the past, the defunding of NPR.
A very good question! https://t.co/8z6uQLKz8M
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2020
During all three years of his presidency, Trump has submitted budgets that would eliminate federal funding for public broadcasting, which includes NPR.
Levin’s tweet was prompted by the controversial off-mic bullying of NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly by Pompeo, which the secretary of state in all likelihood lied about following the outing of the exchange.
During the interview, Pompeo was annoyed by Kelly’s legitimate questions about whether he apologized to former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch for the way she was mistreated by the Trump administration. Pompeo said that he previously agreed to the interview to “talk about Iran” and repeatedly avoided answering Kelly’s Yovanovitch questions by saying that he’s “defended every single person” on his team.
After the interview ended, according to NPR, “Pompeo stood, leaned in and silently glared at Kelly for a period of several seconds before leaving the room.”
Later on Friday, Kelly gave details of a bizarre encounter she had with Pompeo following the interview. “I was taken to the secretary’s private living room, where he was waiting, and where he shouted at me for about the same amount of time as the interview itself had lasted,” Kelly said.
Kelly then said Pompeo asked her: “Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?”
Kelly continued, “He used the F-word in that sentence and many others. He asked if I could find Ukraine on a map, I said yes. He called out for his aides to bring him a map of the world with no writing, no countries marked.”
“I pointed to Ukraine,” Kelly said. “He put the map away. He said, ‘People will hear about this,’ and then he turned and said he had things to do, and I thanked him again for his time and left.”
On Saturday, Pompeo responded releasing a statement from the official U.S. Department of State website calling Kelly a liar.
“NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly lied to me, twice. First, last month, in setting up our interview and, then again yesterday, in agreeing to have our post-interview conversation 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. It is no wonder that the American people distrust many in the media when they so consistently demonstrate their agenda and their absence of integrity. It is worth noting that Bangladesh is NOT Ukraine,” the statement read.
Kelly’s extensive background in world and national security affairs makes Pompeo’s accusation that she lied about knowing where Ukraine is on a map absurd. Kelly graduated from Harvard and holds a master’s degree in European studies from the University of Cambridge in England.
NPR’s CEO John Lansing defended Kelly saying there are email exchanges with Pompeo’s staff that confirm the pre-approved subject matter that would be covered during the interview.
Lansing also said Pompeo’s behavior and statement, “goes well beyond tension” between journalists and government. Lansing added, “This goes towards intimidation. And let me just say this. We will not be intimidated.”