WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department Correspondents’ Association says the State Department has denied a National Public Radio reporter a seat aboard Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s plane for an upcoming trip to Europe and Central Asia.
The decision came a few days after Pompeo lashed out at another NPR reporter.
The correspondents’ association said Monday the decision to remove NPR correspondent Michele Kelemen from Pompeo’s plane led it to conclude “the State Department is retaliating” against NPR. The group asked the State Department to reconsider and allow Kelemen to join Pompeo.
The State Department declined to comment on the correspondents’ association request.
In an interview Friday, Pompeo responded testily when NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly asked him about Ukraine and, specifically, whether he defended or should have defended Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador in Kyiv whose ouster figured in President Donald Trump’s impeachment.
Kelly said that after the NPR interview she was taken to Pompeo’s private living room, where he shouted at her “for about the same amount of time as the interview itself,” cursing repeatedly.
Pompeo responded Saturday that Kelly had “lied” to him, and he called her conduct “shameful.” NPR said it stood by Kelly’s reporting.
In its statement Monday, the correspondents’ group said Kelemen “is a consummate professional who has covered the State Department for nearly two decades. We respectfully ask the State Department to reconsider and allow Michele to travel on the plane for this trip.”
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