WASHINGTON, D.C.  U.S. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, joined his Democratic colleagues on the committee, Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), in sending a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressing serious concerns about an official State Department statement issued earlier today attacking NPR’s All Things Considered co-host Mary Louise Kelly. The Secretary’s statement follows an NPR report from Kelly which revealed Pompeo shouted and swore at her for asking about his refusal to defend Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch during an interview on Friday.

 

At a time when journalists around the world are being jailed for their reporting — and as in the case of Jamal Khashoggi, killed — your insulting and contemptuous comments are beneath the office of the Secretary of State, wrote the Senators. “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.”

 

A copy of the Senators’ letter to Secretary Pompeo today can be found here.

 

The Honorable Michael R. Pompeo

Secretary of State

U.S. Department of State

2201 C Street N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20520

 

Dear Mr. Secretary,

 

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.

 

At a time when journalists around the world are being jailed for their reporting — and as in the case of Jamal Khashoggi, killed — your insulting and contemptuous comments are beneath the office of the Secretary of State.

 

The importance of a free press is enshrined in our Constitution precisely because the Founders recognized how vital a free press is for the public to hold their government accountable. Such accountability is paramount to any free and democratic nation. 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.

 

Sincerely,