Can Mike Pompeo get any more ridiculous?

The secretary of state was being interviewed by NPR All Things Considered host Mary Louise Kelly (who is, by the way, one of the best interviewers on NPR and no shrinking violet) and when the interview did not go to his liking, he did the typical power moves that men often do with women to cow them but it did not work with her. Furthermore, he and his aides did not say that the interview had shifted to being off the record, so she of course recorded it. Peter Wade describes what happened.

NPR National Security Reporter Mary Louise Kelly pressed Pompeo on Friday about whether he owed the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, an apology for the way she was mistreated by the Trump administration.

Pompeo was irritated right away, annoyed that the topic of Ukraine was brought up in the first place, saying, “You know, I agreed to come on your show today to talk about Iran. That’s what I intend to do.”

Kelly pushed back, saying that she had cleared with it Pompeo’s staff that the interview would be about both Iran and Ukraine. Pompeo replied, “I just don’t have anything else to say about that this morning.”

The back-and-forth continued as Pompeo spoke in generalities, saying that he’s “defended every single person” on his team, which would have included Yovanovitch.

Kelly asked, “Sir, respectfully, where have you defended Marie Yovanovitch?”

Kelly asked for a specific time where Pompeo made remarks defending Yovanovitch. Pompeo said, “I’ve said all I’m going to say today.” Kelly pressed further but to no avail, and an aide ended the interview soon after.

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.”

Kelly spoke about what happened next on NPR: “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 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.”

Pompeo was right, people are hearing about this.

In order to save face, Pompeo is now doing what comes naturally to the Trump administration and that is to lie, first saying that it had been off-the-record and implying (but not directly saying) that she had pointed out Bangladesh on the map. Pompeo’s statement said “It is worth noting that Bangladesh is NOT Ukraine.” Well, that is true, of course, but irrelevant unless you are saying that that was the country she pointed to.

Frankly, I find it hard to believe that a reporter like Kelly would think that Ukraine, given all the news about its involvement with Russia and NATO and the EU, was in South Asia. That is the kind of ignorance one expects from Pompeo’s boss Donald Trump. Couldn’t he have picked another more plausible country to confuse with Ukraine, like (say) Serbia?


  1. raven says

    Pompeo isn’t ridiculous.
    He is a totalitarian thug.
    In a slightly different USA, he would be supervising the North American Gulag slave labor camps.

    These are two of the people who Trump has managed to find that operate at his level of wannabe dictatorship.
    Attorney General Bill Barr and Pompeo.
    Both should be investigated by the next administration (assuming there is one) for their criminal activities.

  2. says

    So Pompeo asked an aide for an unmarked map? How spontaneous. Who carries hardcopy of an unmarked map, unless planning a really stupid demonstration?

  3. John Morales says

    Can Mike Pompeo get any more ridiculous?

    Depends. If he’s as ridiculous as it is possible to be, then yes; otherwise, no.

  4. lorn says

    I can’t ignore the possibility that it is Pompeo, and not Mary Louise Kelly, that can’t find Ukraine on an unmarked map. I bet that there are better than even odds that Pompeo, as these thing usually go, was so focused upon the ‘gotcha’ punchline he Borked his part in the play.

    Mary Louise Kelly is six or seven years younger and works at an intellectually demanding job whereas he is both older and used to, contrary to the usual picture of a director of the CIA because he is a political hack, skating along habitually thinking in terms of party dogma and pat bumper-sticker answers.

  5. Mano Singham says


    Kelley has a post-graduate degree in European studies making it even more unlikely that she would not know that Ukraine is in Europe and not Asia.

  6. Scotty Keith Dean says

    I feel like we should all participate in our government however we can. As such, I have decided that I will be mailing Secretary Pompeo maps of Ukraine and Bangladesh, inclusive of LABELS, though I am going to query how they could so poorly budget so as to not be able to afford printer ink for map labels??? I can think of no other possible explanation for blank maps handy, other than if the blank map originally had a package of crayons attached, then this was from the custom set reserved for briefings of ‘The Donald’…

  7. Scotty Keith Dean says

    Post-script to my original message:
    And Pompeo graduated FIRST IN HIS CLASS from West Point??? Their government and geography instructors apparently need to retire!!!

  8. brucegee1962 says

    The biggest problem is that the Secretary of STATE seems to think the American people don’t care about Ukraine, nor should they. This is the country that is on the front lines against Russia, and the only current shooting war in Europe. The posting there is perhaps one of the most important we’ve got. If he doesn’t want to talk about it, that’s one thing — but his justification is insane!
    Also, if our top diplomat cannot get along with a polite reporter, how is he supposed to deal with foreign leaders?

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