Secretary of State Mike Pompeo unleashed a profanity-filled tirade at NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly in a private room after the “All Things Considered” co-host asked him about former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch during a routine interview, NPR reported.
Kelly explained on “All Things Considered” on Friday night that, after the interview, she was led to a private room near his office. Pompeo then yelled at her, using the “F-word and many others” over her questions on Ukraine.
“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,” she said. “He was not happy to have been questioned about Ukraine.”
Kelly said the initial interview lasted about 10 minutes.
Pompeo also asked Kelly if she could find Ukraine on a map, and she said she could. He called on his aides to bring an unlabeled map so she could show him, according to Kelly.
Kelly, a longtime national security reporter with a master’s in European studies from Cambridge University, said she successfully pointed to the country on the map.
Kelly described the bizarre tirade after airing the full interview with Pompeo on “All Things Considered.”
The aide who brought Kelly to Pompeo did not say that anything would be off the record, the NPR host said.
[Pompeo] asked, “Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?”
He used the F-word in that sentence and many others.
He asked if I could find Ukraine on a map. I said yes, and he called out for aides to bring us a map of the world with no writing. I pointed to Ukraine. He put the map away.
He said, “people will hear about this.”
NPR’s “Morning Edition” released a portion of Kelly’s interview with the secretary of state earlier Friday, highlighting the moment Pompeo became frustrated with Kelly after she asked him if he owed Yovanovitch an apology for her ouster.
Pompeo deflected the question as Kelly continued to push him on it until the secretary appeared to cut the interview off.
In a statement, Pompeo blamed what he called an “unhinged” media. He then claimed that Kelly ― who, again, has a master’s degree in European studies — pointed to Bangladesh, not Ukraine.
Read the full transcript of Kelly’s interview with Pompeo on NPR here.
This story has been updated with a statement from Pompeo.