In fact, issues begin off good sufficient. Pompeo smiles as he enters together with his workforce and shakes Amons’ hand. He even introduces himself as “Mike” to her “Nancy,” and acknowledges the digicam op. Amons notes her restricted time slot and vows to dig proper in—and she or he does, with a query about Thursday’s resignation of Pompeo’s senior adviser, P. Michael McKinley. Pompeo instantly bristles, addressing Amons by “ma’am” fairly than her first identify, and speaking right down to her with reproach as he meanders by means of a non-answer possible meant to take up as a lot of these seven minutes as potential.
NANCY AMONS: That is on Michael McKinley first. Massive announcement yesterday, considered one of your most trusted senior advisers resigned. He’s including his voice to a lot of profession diplomats who’ve expressed frustration over what they see as your failure to face up for presidency servants, and for servants like Ambassador (Marie) Yovanovitch, caught up within the Ukraine controversy. Did you do sufficient to defend the ambassador, privately and publicly, towards the smear marketing campaign that was being waged towards her? And can you communicate to that now?
MIKE POMPEO: Properly, ma’am, you have got a few of your info unsuitable, so you need to be cautious about belongings you assert as info earlier than you state them. However extra importantly, I’m extremely happy with the work that I’ve finished, together with my workforce—different senior leaders on the State Division—to be sure that this establishment was purposeful, preserved, and delivering on behalf of America. And I believe, I believe the outcomes that we’ve achieved—I’ve been the Secretary of State for now a few yr and a half—I believe the outcomes that we achieved stand on their very own. And the profession individuals who work on the State Division, the civil servants who work on the State Division, the political individuals who work on the State Division, are all a part of one workforce centered on a singular mission: to ship on behalf of America. And I believe we’ve got finished that, are doing it right now, and we’ll proceed to do it throughout my time in management.
With Pompeo’s rambling technique of avoidance now revealed, Amons jumps in earlier than he can consider extra teams of people that work at State to say. Pompeo digs his loafers in deeper, nonetheless, giving the award-winning journalist a hasty lecture on what’s “acceptable,” punctuated by one other “ma’am,” this one a bit extra highly effective.
AMONS: Are you able to communicate to Michael McKinley’s resignation?
POMPEO: I don’t speak about personnel issues.
AMONS: Did he communicate to you personally about it as he resigned?
POMPEO: I don’t speak about personnel issues. It wouldn’t be acceptable, ma’am, to try this.
He launches into one other prolonged record of the completely different form of staff he gained’t speak about earlier than Amon tries a unique angle, which Pompeo firmly rejects.
AMONS: Did you help the ambassador being recalled months earlier than her tenure was up?
POMPEO: I’ve supported each mission that the State Division has been engaged in and can proceed to try this.
At this level, it’s crystal clear that Pompeo isn’t going to reply exhausting questions, however Amons doesn’t relent. After a nod to Nashville’s Kurdish residents, she makes an attempt to get Pompeo to acknowledge the impression of Trump’s resolution to drag U.S. troops out of Syria.
AMONS: A senior State Division official instructed reporters yesterday that among the many deepest considerations about Turkey’s incursion is the indiscriminate firing on civilians and even ethnic cleaning. Nashville has a big Kurdish inhabitants—what do you say to the frightened households right here?
POMPEO: So, the US, underneath President Trump, did monumental work to help the Kurds in taking down the Caliphate in predominantly Kurdish areas of Syria. ISIS had contaminated the area—you bear in mind them, individuals in cages, heads being reduce off—and also you watched, underneath President Trump’s management, the help that we offered to the Kurdish individuals there within the area to take down the caliphate within northeast Syria, the place the vast majority of these Kurdish individuals stay. So I’m very happy with the work we’ve finished in help of the Kurds. We’re working diligently, whilst I sit right here right now, our workforce is working diligently on the bottom, to persuade President Erdoğan it’s not in anybody’s finest curiosity to interact in habits that places civilians in danger within Syria.
AMONS: And for the Kurds who’re right here in Nashville, do you see why they’re nonetheless frightened?
POMPEO: We’ve been extremely supportive and we’ll proceed to help them. You must bear in mind, and I’m positive the individuals on this area would know, the Kurds exist not solely in Syria, they exist in lots of locations, and the US has been and can proceed to be extremely supportive, to guard them. We’ve made an actual centerpiece of the State Division’s work, throughout my time, of defending individuals all all over the world. Marginalized communities, non secular minorities, non secular freedom, all of the issues that I do know that the Kurdish folks that stay proper right here on this area care so deeply about. We’ll proceed to try this.
The stonewall now has its basis, people. With only a couple minutes left on the clock, Amons provides Pompeo a well mannered “Thanks” and checks her notes … earlier than asking the query that made Pompeo so indignant, his face froze because the redness of rage creeped in, his eyes flaring simply sufficient to make identified his utter disgust that this girl didn’t ask him if he’s ever been to Dollywood.
AMONS: In mid-February, you have been in Warsaw, and so was Rudy Giuliani. Throughout your time there, did you meet with Giuliani?
POMPEO: You recognize, I do not speak about who I meet with. I went to Warsaw for a specific objective. It was an necessary mission. We introduced collectively individuals all internationally to take down the world’s largest state-sponsored terror, the Islamic Republic of Iran. That is what I labored on on that mission.
If we will reward Pompeo for nothing else—and it’s trying like we will’t—this can be a strong self-serving dodge. Amons known as him out for it instantly, which, sadly, triggered the repetition robotic that lives inside Pompeo.
AMONS: So you are not going to say whether or not or not you met with him?
POMPEO: So after I was in Warsaw, I had a singular focus. My focus was singularly on the work that we’ve got finished, efficient work, to get better from what the Obama administration has finished, which is to underwrite the world’s largest state-sponsor of terror. We have stopped that, we’re making actual progress.
AMONS: It sounds such as you’re not going to say?
POMPEO: After I was in Warsaw, we have been working diligently to perform the mission to take down the phobia regime that’s contained in the Islamic Republic of Iran. That is what I labored on, that is the one factor that I engaged in whereas I used to be there.
Amons had underneath two minutes left with Pompeo at this level, so she went for it, asking the indignant Secretary of State about his subordinates’ telling Ukrainian officers that they have to examine Joe Biden in the event that they needed to get on Trump’s good facet.
Pompeo misplaced what little phantasm of professionalism he had left at that second, and unabashedly sought to discredit Amons, accusing her of being a Democratic Get together operative.
After that, Pompeo feigned offense, slid in one other Obama slight, and deflected—till, fairly actually, after one final compulsory query, Amons’ time with the Trump appointee was up.
AMONS: Textual content messages present that diplomats underneath your authority instructed the Ukrainians good relationship with President Trump was solely potential in the event that they investigated his political opponent and theories about what occurred in 2016. Have been you conscious that this was occurring?
POMPEO (hate chuckling): Once more, you’ve received your info unsuitable. Sounds such as you’re working, no less than partially, for the Democratic Nationwide Committee once you phrase a predicate of a query in that manner. It’s unlucky, it does an actual disservice to the staff and the workforce at the US Division of State. Our workforce was extremely centered; we needed a superb relationship with Ukraine. We needed it earlier than the election, when Porshenko was in cost, and we would like it now, with Mr. Zelensky. We now have an necessary set of overseas coverage actual pursuits in Ukraine; the risk from Russia is actual, and this administration, not like the earlier one, has taken these obligations very critically. A part of that, an extremely necessary a part of that, is ensuring that corruption is weeded out at each stage within Ukraine. And our workforce, for the complete time I’ve been the Secretary of State, has been engaged on that undertaking.
AMONS: Would you wish to wrap it up by saying why you’re right here?
POMPEO: Certain. I got here right here right now to speak to a gaggle of people that care deeply about non secular freedom. It’s one thing that President Trump has directed our State Division to deal with, whether or not that’s the Uyghurs—Muslims in China who’re being held in camps in western Xinjiang Province in China, or non secular minorities, whether or not they be Christian or Muslim or B’hai all through the Center East that aren’t being handled appropriately. I got here right here right now to speak about this extremely necessary process that the State Division has in entrance of it.
AMONS: My time is up.
Pompeo and his workforce couldn’t get out of there quick sufficient.
It’s price noting that Pompeo’s “non secular freedom” speech to Nashville Christians additionally dodged the impeachment inquiry and Syria, so no less than he’s constant. Additionally of significance? The soundbite that received that crowd most excited.
The largest applause from the speech, nonetheless, got here after Pompeo vowed his division would by no means signal an settlement with a world group that declared abortion as a human proper.
That doesn’t sound like freedom for … properly, just about anybody who can get pregnant.