Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly blew up at an NPR reporter who pressed him on the removal of former U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, challenging her to find Ukraine on a map and growing angry when she did.
The blow-up came during an interview on All Things Considered, where host Mary Louise Kelly grilled Pompeo on President Donald Trump’s controversial decision to oust Yovanovitch and the secretary of state’s apparent lack of public support for the diplomat. As CNBC reported, Pompeo declined to answer questions about Ukraine, which is at the center of the president’s impeachment trial, saying the interview was only supposed to cover the administration’s policies toward Iran.
Pompeo allegedly continued to blow up at Kelly after the interview came to an end, with NPR noting that after it came to an end, he “stood, leaned in and silently glared at Kelly for a period of several seconds before leaving the room.”
Kelly reported that she was then taken to the secretary’s private living room, where he continued to yell at her for an extended period, at one point asking, “do you think Americans care about Ukraine?” Pompeo reportedly questioned whether Kelly could find the country on a map. He then had an aide bring an unmarked map to the reporter, who has worked extensively overseas, spending time in Iran and on the Ukrainian border. She immediately identified Ukraine, and Pompeo then allegedly grew angrier.
“I pointed to Ukraine,” she 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.”
Pompeo has been accused of failing to stand by Yovanovitch as she came under fire from Trump and was ultimately removed from her post, as part of the alleged campaign to pressure Ukraine into digging up dirt on the president’s political rival, Joe Biden. Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani who worked as a liaison with the country to carry out the plot, released text messages that appeared to show Yovanovitch was under surveillance.
Pompeo has said that he was on the phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that is at the center of the impeachment trial. He was subpoenaed by House committees investigating the U.S. president but did not respond or produce documents related to his alleged attempts to pressure Ukraine. The House would ultimately pass an article of impeachment for Trump’s purported efforts to stymie Congress.