Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoState Department watchdog probing whether Trump aides took gifts meant for foreign officials Biden shows little progress with Abraham Accords on first anniversary Biden slips further back to failed China policies MORE told a reporter for a Kansas newspaper that his question was "insane" after the journalist asked if President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump goes after Cassidy after saying he wouldn't support him for president in 2024 Jan. 6 panel lays out criminal contempt case against Bannon Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Agencies sound alarm over ransomware targeting agriculture groups MORE's recent decision to move troops out of northern Syria undermined U.S. credibility.
Pompeo, a former GOP congressman from Kansas's 4th District, was asked by a Wichita Eagle reporter, "What good really is the word of the U.S. in light of the president’s treatment of the Kurds? Has that undercut U.S. credibility?"
"The whole predicate of your question is insane," Pompeo responded.
"The word of the United States is much more respected today than it was just two and a half years ago," the top U.S. diplomat added. "The previous administration in Syria, where you asked the question earlier, the previous administration said, ‘Boy, if you use chemical weapons that’s going to be bad,’ and the president drew a red line, President Obama drew a red line. He then duly ignored it."
The Trump administration has faced bipartisan criticism over its recent decision to move the troops, which was immediately followed by a Turkish military offensive against Kurdish fighters in the region. Turkish and Syrian Kurdish forces have since reached a cease-fire.
Pompeo also discussed Syria at other points in the wide-ranging interview, saying Trump was "very unhappy" that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had conducted the Syria operation.
"We wanted to stop that incursion to save lives. We did that. We set up a five-day pause so that we could extract SDF [Syrian Democratic Forces] fighters safely, they wouldn’t be killed as they moved back," he said.
Multiple Democratic lawmakers and presidential candidates, including South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Build Back Better items on chopping block Buttigieg says delay in climate action will cost lives amid reports of Manchin roadblock Sunday shows - Buttigieg warns supply chain issues could stretch to next year MORE, a military veteran, have said that Trump has hurt U.S. credibility abroad by abandoning a key military ally.
"The credibility of the United States is something that our lives depend on. And when the president undermines it with things like the action in Syria, that is going to cost us for years and years," Buttigieg said during an NBC interview that aired Sunday. "We've got to be a country known to keep its word."
Pompeo earlier this month also told two reporters that it seemed like they were working for the Democratic National Committee after they asked him questions relating to Ukraine.