Trump Praises Pompeo for Cursing Out Female Reporter: “You Did a Good Job on Her”

Prompting loud laughter and applause from his audience.

Gripas Yuri/ZUMA

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Halfway into his remarks at the White House unveiling the administration’s long-awaited Middle East peace plan, President Donald Trump on Tuesday found a moment to lavish praise on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who in recent days has been accused of bullying a female NPR reporter.

“That’s impressive Mike,” Trump said. “That reporter couldn’t have done too good a job on you.” He then paused before adding the punchline, “I think you did a good job on her, actually.”

The remarks delighted audience members, some of whom seemed both shocked and thrilled by the jab at NPR reporter and All Things Considered host Mary Louise Kelly. Last Friday, Kelly revealed that Pompeo had recently berated her with expletives after she asked about his role in the Ukraine scandal at the center of impeachment. The conflict extended into the weekend when on Saturday, Pompeo, in turn, accused her of blindsiding him in the interview, adding a snarky comment suggesting that Kelly, who received a master’s degree in European history from Cambridge, was unable to identify Ukraine on a map. Pompeo’s claim of having been lied to about the substance of the interview, however, quickly fell apart when emails between Kelly and the State Department acknowledging that questions on Ukraine had been agreed to were made public. 

Trump, looking visibly pleased with himself, quickly returned to his teleprompter remarks on Tuesday. But the jarring moment appeared to reveal the general approach of Pompeo’s State Department, where officials have remained silent over its decision to bar NPR’s diplomatic correspondent from an upcoming overseas trip with Pompeo. It also emphatically telegraphed the president’s approval of Pompeo’s treatment of both the media and women, two groups that Trump has openly and frequently disdained. 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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