White House Correspondents' Association blasts State for 'punitive action' against NPR

White House Correspondents' Association blasts State for 'punitive action' against NPR
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The White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) on Tuesday criticized the State Department for removing an NPR reporter from Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoPompeo on CIA recruitment: We can't risk national security to appease 'liberal, woke agenda' DNC gathers opposition research on over 20 potential GOP presidential candidates Dozens of scientists call for deeper investigation into origins of COVID-19, including the lab theory MORE's upcoming trip to Europe and Central Asia and called for it to reverse the decision.

"The State Department's apparent attempt to take punitive action against a news outlet for its reporting is outrageous and contrary to American values," WCHA president Jonathan Karl said in a statement.
"The WHCA calls on the State Department to reverse this ill-conceived decision. We stand with our colleagues at NPR and the State Department Correspondents' Association," he added.
The removal of NPR reporter Michele Kelemen from the trip was the latest fallout between the State Department and the news organization after NPR's Mary Louise Kelly said last week on “All Things Considered” that Pompeo, during an interview about Ukraine, cursed at her and asked her if she could locate the country on a map.
Pompeo responded over the weekend, calling Kelly a liar in an official statement from the State Department. Pompeo accused Kelly of lying about the setup for the interview and keeping the post-interview conversation off the record.
Kelly, a veteran NPR reporter, has said that she told Pompeo's office prior to the interview that she would be asking about Ukraine. She also said she had not agreed to keep the post-interview conversation off the record.
Pompeo in his statement did not take issue with other parts of Kelly's account, including that he brought out an unmarked map and asked her to find Ukraine on it. 
Kelly said she pointed to Ukraine on the map. Pompeo, in the Saturday statement, offered a cryptic comment about Bangladesh not being Ukraine. 
On Saturday, Democratic Sens. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezDemocrats reintroduce legislation to ban 'ghost guns' Juan Williams: A breakthrough on immigration? Biden rebuffs Democrats, keeps refugee admissions at 15,000 MORE (N.J.), Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineHow leaving Afghanistan cancels our post-9/11 use of force Manchin on collision course with Warren, Sanders On The Money: Incomes, consumer spending soared in March | Harris, senators work behind scenes on jobs package | Biden cancels some border wall construction MORE (Va.), Ed MarkeyEd MarkeySenators ask airlines to offer cash refunds for unused flight credits Civilian Climate Corps can help stem rural-urban divide Senate votes to nix Trump rule limiting methane regulation MORE (Mass.), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleySenate panel deadlocks in vote on sweeping elections bill Senate descends into hours-long fight over elections bill Senate poised for all-day brawl over sweeping elections bill MORE (Ore.) and Cory BookerCory BookerPolice reform talks hit familiar stumbling block Almost 20 advocacy groups team up to pressure Congress to pass health care bill for immigrants Biden adds pressure to congressional talks with self-imposed deadlines MORE (N.J.) penned a letter to Pompeo, criticizing his behavior with Kelly during their interview.
“As the United States’ chief diplomat, the person most responsible for promoting and championing American values all over the world, Secretary Pompeo should know that freedom of the press is a fundamental human right, a foundational pillar of democracy, and an indispensable check on authoritarian overreach,” Menendez said Tuesday.