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 PompeoMike PompeoHillicon Valley — TikTok, Snapchat seek to distance themselves from Facebook State: US 'strongly opposes' Israeli settlement expansion Lawmakers praise upcoming establishment of cyber bureau at State 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) MenendezWhy is Trump undermining his administration's historic China policies? Senate GOP signals they'll help bail out Biden's Fed chair Democrats weigh changes to drug pricing measure to win over moderates MORE (D-N.J.), was also signed by Sens. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineObama gives fiery speech for McAuliffe: 'Don't sit this one out' Biden injects new momentum into filibuster fight Democratic frustration with Sinema rises MORE (D-Va.), Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by American Clean Power — Dems see path to deal on climate provisions Democrats say they have path to deal on climate provisions in spending bill TikTok, Snapchat seek to distance themselves from Facebook MORE (D-Mass.), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyDemocrats haggle as deal comes into focus Democrats ready to put a wrap on dragged-out talks Glasgow summit raises stakes for Biden deal MORE (D-Ore.) and Cory BookerCory BookerBlack Caucus pushes for priorities in final deal Cory Booker to campaign for McAuliffe in Virginia Senate Democrats call for diversity among new Federal Reserve Bank presidents 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.