Trump Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who, let us remember, was a frothing House Republican before being elevated to Trump administration posts by virtue of being an avid Trump-supporting House Republican not under investigation for crimes, at least not (cough) at the time, doesn't seem very eager to end his ongoing slapfight with NPR. On the contrary, he's still going.
Pompeo was asked about his actions by a reporter for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Kazakh service, Radio Azattyq, who noted Pompeo's removal of an NPR reporter from his press pool after a different NPR reporter had asked in an interview what he had done to protect U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch from moves against her from the administration. "Did you retaliate against NPR?" reporter Aigerim Toleukhanova asked. What kind of message does that send, she asked, to countries "whose governments routinely suppress press freedoms?"
With his trademark sneer, Pompeo simply continued lying about his NPR exchange and launched into the very platitudes about press freedoms that Toleukhanova had hinted were now less credible coming from the likes of Pompeo. "With respect to who travels with me, I always bring a big press contingent, but we ask for certain sets of behaviors and that's simply telling the truth and being honest. And when they'll do that, they get to participate, and if they don't, it's just not appropriate — frankly it's not fair to the rest of the journalists who are participating alongside of them."
Note that it has now been proven, explicitly, that Pompeo lied about his interviewer. Pompeo's blow-up was premised on an apparent belief that the NPR reporter, Mary Louise Kelly, had been forbidden to ask any questions relating to Ukraine or Mike Pompeo's up-to-his-eyeballs involvement in Trump's act of extorting that country. That simply wasn't true, according to provided emails. But Pompeo continues to lie about it, and he certainly did not deny that his removal of a different NPR reporter, Michele Kelemen, from his European trip was meant as retaliation against the news outlet for asking a question he didn't want to answer.
"It sends a message," continued Pompeo. "It's a perfect message. It's a perfect message about press freedoms. They're free to ask questions." (Pompeo's tantrum at Kelly was explicitly because she was not allowed, according to him, to ask questions about some topics.) "There were, there's a reporter from that very business who was at a press conference just yesterday. It's wide open in America. I love it." (It is, according to himself, not wide open. Some questions are not allowed, on pain of your network being temporarily banned from covering him. And he does not "love" it.) "I hope the rest of the world will follow our press freedoms and the great things we do in the United States."
This ought to be parody, but it is not. Reporters from outside the United States are correctly observing that the U.S. government appears to be talking out of Trump's behind when it comes to press freedoms. The loss of American credibility on every international topic, from human rights to NATO commitments to our claims about Iran, continues to escalate. Nobody believes these clowns; nobody should.