NPR's Mary Louise Kelly said during a segment on "All Things Considered" on Friday that after the interview Pompeo forcefully questioned whether Americans care about Ukraine and whether Kelly could find the country on a map.
“He asked, ‘Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?’ He used the F-word in that sentence and many others,” Kelly told her co-host Ari Shapiro, according to a transcript of the program.“He asked if I could find Ukraine on a map. I said yes, and he called out for aides to bring us a map of the world with no writing. I pointed to Ukraine. He put the map away.”
A State Department official disputed Kelly's claim, telling Fox News that she was not able to identify Ukraine on the map and that she was wrong.
The transcript of the interview showed that Pompeo wasn’t prepared to talk about Ukraine and ex-US Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. Kelly then told Pompeo that she had "confirmed" with the secretary's staff that they would talk about Ukraine. Pompeo still doubled down on the question, saying that he had nothing to say except that he had defended every State Department official.
The secretary is expected to travel to Ukraine on Thursday, committing to a trip that was postponed in December over increasing tensions between the US and Iran.