Following an extremely public spat between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and NPR after one of its reporters asked him about Ukraine, President Donald Trump weighed in with a tweet questioning why the nearly-50 year old public radio outlet exists at all.
On Friday, Pompeo was interviewed by All Things Considered co-host Mary Louise Kelly, and was pressed on the subject of Ukraine. After the interview ended, Kelly told co-host Ari Shapiro, she was led into a room where Pompeo proceeded to berate her for nearly ten minutes and demanded that she pick out Ukraine on an unlabeled map of the world.
“A very good question!” Trump added in his own tweet.
Attacks on the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which distributes funding for NPR and PBS, are nothing new for Trump or even the rest of the Republican Party. All three of the Trump administration’s proposed budgets have attempted to kill funding for the CPB (and thus NPR and PBS), and all have failed miserably. In 2012, Republican presidential candidate (and current U.S. Senator) Mitt Romney was roundly criticized for saying in a presidential debate that he’d cut PBS.
About 8 percent of NPR’s annual funding comes from CPB, while 4 percent comes directly from federal, state, and local governments, according to NPR.
The dispute between Pompeo and Kelly stems from a disagreement about the terms of the interview. “You know, I agreed to come on your show today to talk about Iran,” Pompeo said in response to her Ukraine question. Later, after Kelly repeatedly pressed him on the subject, he said, “I appreciate that you want to continue to talk about this.”