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 PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoArmenia and Azerbaijan say they will implement ceasefire agreement Monday Entire Nigerian police force mobilized after days of violent protests that have killed at least 69 Hillicon Valley: Treasury sanctions Russian group accused of targeting critical facilities | Appeals court rules Uber, Lyft must comply with labor laws | Biden: Countries that target US elections will 'pay a price' 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) MenendezSenate Democrats hold talkathon to protest Barrett's Supreme Court nomination Watchdog confirms State Dept. canceled award for journalist who criticized Trump Kasie Hunt to host lead-in show for MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' MORE (N.J.), Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineDemocratic Senate emerges as possible hurdle for progressives  Two Loeffler staffers test positive for COVID-19 Democrats have no case against Amy Coney Barrett — but that won't stop them MORE (Va.), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyOcasio-Cortez says having Green New Deal would have helped handle COVID-19 pandemic OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Democrats push expansion of offshore wind, block offshore drilling with ocean energy bill | Poll: Two-thirds of voters support Biden climate plan | Biden plan lags Green New Deal in fighting emissions from homes Biden plan lags Green New Deal in fighting emissions from homes MORE (Mass.), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyGOP clears key hurdle on Barrett's Supreme Court nomination, setting up Monday confirmation Senate Democrats call for ramped up Capitol coronavirus testing The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Trump, Biden renew push for Latino support MORE (Ore.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerDemocratic senators unveil bill to ban discrimination in financial services industry Obama endorses Espy in Mississippi Senate race Durbin says he will run for No. 2 spot if Dems win Senate majority 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.