Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared as an unwilling and combative witness during his testimony before Congress Friday morning. The former CIA director and former U.S. Congressman refused to answer questions from his former fellow Congressmen about the impending coronavirus pandemic, then smirked when asked about his scheduled speaking engagement at a far right wing conference later today.
U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) asked the Secretary of State about comments White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney reportedly made at the same conference Pompeo is about to attend. Pompeo refused to answer.
“Donald Trump’s chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told the Conservative Political Action Conference that the coronavirus was the hoax of the day,” Lieu asked Pompeo. “Do you agree with Donald Trump’s chief of staff that the coronavirus is the hoax of the day?”
“The State Dept. is doing everything it can to protect American citizens throughout the world,” Pompeo responded. When pressed, he responded that he wound not “comment on what others are saying.”
Rep. Lieu insisted on an answer.
“It’s not even a gotcha question,” he pleaded.
“It’s a gotcha moment. It’s not useful,” Pompeo, appearing exasperated, retorted.
“At 12:15 today are you in fact speaking at CPAC?” Lieu then asked.
“Yes I am,” Pompeo admitted.
“OK. So you can only give two hours to this bipartisan groiup, members of Congress, and instead of answering questions on life and death issues from a bipartisan group of America’s representatives, you’re going to go talk to a special interest group?”
“Yes,” Pompeo responded.
“You’re supposed to represent all Americans. It is shameful you can’t even answer basic questions,” Lieu charged.
Pompeo responded with a smirk.
.@tedlieu: Are you going to speak at CPAC today?
LIEU: So you could only give two hours to Congress, and instead of answering questions on life and death issues you’re going to go talk to a special interest group?
LIEU: It’s shameful pic.twitter.com/UBTsvJCWBr
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 28, 2020
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