VOA Reporter Demoted for Daring to Ask Mike Pompeo Whether He Regrets Saying There Will Be a Second Trump Administration
A reporter who covered the White House for Voice of America (VOA) was reassigned after asking Secretary of State Mike Pompeo if he regretted saying President Donald Trump would serve a second term beginning in January, The Hill reports.
Pompeo ignored questions from VOA’s Patsy Widakuswara after concluding a speech in which he criticized the government-funded news outlet’s reporting on the situation the U.S. is currently in. Widakuswara wanted to know what Pompeo was doing to improve the country’s reputation and if he regretted saying Trump would serve a second term even though President-elect Joe Biden won the election.
The nation's top diplomat @SecPompeo ignoring my questions about what he is doing to restore US reputation and whether he regrets saying there will be a second Trump administration. pic.twitter.com/8pcP9lRQ5a
— Patsy Widakuswara (@pwidakuswara) January 11, 2021
Not long after that, Widakuswara was taken off the White House beat by VOA Director Robert Reilly, The Washington Post reported. Reilly, a notedly conservative writer had conducted the brief Q & A session between journalists and Pompeo.
Widakuswara’s removal spurred condemnation from other journalists.
“VOA’s reassignment of Patsy Widakuswara for doing her job, asking questions, is an affront to the very ideals Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed in his speech Monday,” said Zeke Miller, President of the White House Correspondents’ Association on behalf of the WHCA Board.
— WHCA (@whca) January 12, 2021
Miller added Widakuswara was supposed to join her fellow journalists as part of Tuesday’s travel pool on Air Force One before she was reassigned.
In his speech following last week’s deadly mob violence at the Capitol, Pompeo extolled the virtues of American exceptionalism and criticized the VOA as “demeaning America.
When the election was called by the Associated Press on November 10, Pompeo was asked if the State Department was prepared to work with Biden’s transition team.
He remained defiant.
“There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration,” he claimed.
Prior to his speech Monday, VOA employees filed a whistleblower complaint amid concerns he would “disseminate political propaganda in the waning days of the Trump administration.” Pompeo, whose speech was carried by 47 foreign language channels and video streams, noted the situation, managing to get in a dig in referring to the complaint.
“I read that some VOA employees didn’t want me to speak here today. I’m sure it was only a handful,” he said.
The combative situation between Pompeo and the press is emblematic of the Trump administration. Trump himself has called well-respected journalists liars, called credible news sources “fake news,” and then turned around and allowed spurious individuals like Alex Jones and Rick Wiles to cover his press briefings.
The hypocrisy of this situation almost seems unbelievable, but you have to remember this is the Trump administration, after all. Built on a foundation of lies that have helped lead to Trump’s undoing.