Senate Dems to Pompeo: Comments about NPR reporter 'insulting and contemptuous'

Senate Dems to Pompeo: Comments about NPR reporter 'insulting and contemptuous'
© Greg Nash
A group of Senate Democrats knocked Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoWatchdog confirms State Dept. canceled award for journalist who criticized Trump Trump's push for win with Sudan amps up pressure on Congress  Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize MORE on Saturday, saying an official statement used to attack an NPR reporter was "beneath the office." 
 
Five Democrats sent a letter to Pompeo after the secretary released a statement criticizing NPR's Mary Louise Kelly and accused her of violating "the basic rules of journalism and decency."
 
In the letter, the Democrats called Pompeo's remarks "insulting and contemptuous" and "beneath the office of the Secretary of State." 
 
"We write to express our profound disappointment and concern regarding your irresponsible statement this morning about NPR Reporter Mary Louise Kelly and the corrosive effects of your behavior on American values and standing in the world," they wrote. 
 
"Instead of calling journalists 'liars' and insulting their intelligence when they ask you hard questions you would rather not answer, your oath of office places on you a duty and obligation to engage respectfully and transparently," they continued. 
 
The letter, spearheaded Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezWatchdog confirms State Dept. canceled award for journalist who criticized Trump Kasie Hunt to host lead-in show for MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' Senators ask for removal of tariffs on EU food, wine, spirits: report MORE (D-N.J.), was also signed by Sens. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineTrump taps Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court, setting up confirmation sprint Supreme Court fight pushes Senate toward brink Trump plans to pick Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ginsburg on court MORE (D-Va.), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyA game theorist's advice to President Trump on filling the Supreme Court seat Watchdog confirms State Dept. canceled award for journalist who criticized Trump 3 reasons why Biden is misreading the politics of court packing MORE (D-Mass.), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Trump, Biden renew push for Latino support Sunday shows - Trump team defends coronavirus response Oregon senator says Trump's blame on 'forest management' for wildfires is 'just a big and devastating lie' MORE (D-Ore.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSunday shows preview: Lawmakers prepare for SCOTUS confirmation hearings before election The movement to reform animal agriculture has reached a tipping point Watchdog confirms State Dept. canceled award for journalist who criticized Trump MORE (D-N.J.). 
 
Kelly said during a Friday segment on "All Things Considered" that Pompeo forcefully questioned whether Americans care about Ukraine and if the veteran journalist — who had recently returned from reporting in Iran — could find the country on a map.
 
"He asked, ‘Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?’ He used the F-word in that sentence and many others,” Kelly told her co-host Ari Shapiro, according to a transcript of the program.
 
In his statement Pompeo did not deny using the language Kelly mentioned. Instead, he said that Kelly had agreed to "have our post-interview conversation off the record." 

Kelly told Shapiro that when she was called back to Pompeo after the interview for the private tongue-lashing, she told his office she would be relaying on air what had happened.