WASHINGTON, Jan 24 (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cursed at a National Public Radio reporter and repeatedly “used the F-word” in a shouted diatribe after she questioned him about Ukraine and the ousted American ambassador to Kiev in an interview on Friday, NPR said.
Mary Louise Kelly interviewed Pompeo for NPR’s “All Things Considered” program, asking him about Iran and former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who was ousted by President Donald Trump last May, NPR said in a statement. Yovanovitch’s removal was a key event in the actions that prompted Trump’s impeachment in the House of Representatives.
“Afterwards, Pompeo proceeded to shout his displeasure at being questioned about Ukraine. He used repeated expletives, according to Kelly,” NPR said.
“He asked, ‘do you think Americans care about Ukraine?’ He used the F-word in that sentence and many others,” Kelly said, according to NPR.
The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Kelly said Pompeo shouted at her “for about (the) same amount of time as the interview itself.” Pompeo then had aides bring a blank map of the world and asked Kelly to show Ukraine, NPR said.
“People will hear about this,” Pompeo said after the reporter pointed at Ukraine on the map, according to NPR.
In the interview, Kelly pressed Pompeo on whether he had defended Yovanovitch, who later testified in the House impeachment inquiry about her ouster. The incident also has figured in Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate.
“I have defended every State Department official. ... I’ve defended every single person on this team,” Pompeo replied, according to NPR.
In November, Pompeo declined to defend Yovanovitch after Trump attacked her on Twitter.
Yovanovitch was removed by Trump following a negative campaign against her by his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and others. Giuliani at the time was pushing to have Ukraine investigate Trump’s political rival Joe Biden. (Reporting by Arshad Mohammed; Writing by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Will Dunham)