Here is the tweet:
“Whoever conceals hatred with lying lips and spreads slander is a fool” -Proverbs 10:18 #SundayScripture ✝️
— Mike Pompeo (@mikepompeo) January 26, 2020
It would be very difficult to understand this tweet apart from Pompeo’s response yesterday to the NPR reporter who claimed that the Secretary of State screamed at her, cursed at her, and belittled her expertise following an interview. You can get up to speed here.
Pompeo accused NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly of lying to him. Here is his full statement:
“NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly lied to me, twice. First, last month, in setting up our interview and, then again yesterday, in agreeing to have our post-interview conversation off the record. It is shameful that this reporter chose to violate the basic rules of journalism and decency.
This is another example of how unhinged the media has become in its quest to hurt President Trump and this Administration. It is no wonder that the American people distrust many in the media when they so consistently demonstrate their agenda and their absence of integrity.
It is worth noting that Bangladesh is NOT Ukraine.”
Kelly, a respected reporter, claims that she did not lie to Pompeo about anything. She told the Secretary’s staff in advance that she would be asking questions about Ukraine. She also claims that Pompeo did not say that the post-interview discussion was off the record. National Public Radio CEO Michael Martin stands by Kelly.
Notice that Pompeo says nothing in this statement about his own behavior. He does not deny that Kelly’s account of his behavior is true. And he does not apologize for the way he treated Kelly. Pompeo’s statement suggests that if someone (allegedly) lies to you, you have the right to respond any way you want toward that person. What kind of Christian example is this? Again, here is my satirical addendum from last night’s post:
Hey Christian kids, when someone (allegedly) lies to you, you have every right to scream at them, mistreat them, degrade their expertise, and curse at them. Just follow the example of evangelical role model and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his boss Donald Trump. Don’t listen to all the evangelical anti-Trump losers who tell you to turn the other cheek. Just fire-back in a press release or get your public relations people to book you on Fox News. After all, we are in the middle of the culture war. We can’t let little things like Jesus’s words in the Sermon on the Mount get in the way when we have so much work to do in our righteous quest to restore Christian values.
Pompeo ends his statement by saying, “It is worth noting that Bangladesh is NOT Ukraine.” Here Pompeo feels the need to take one more parting shot at Kelly. As you may recall, Pompeo pulled out a blank map and asked Kelly to identify Ukraine on it. (Who has a blank map sitting around in his “living room” just in case he needs to quiz a guest?). Kelly claims that after she accurately identified Ukraine on the blank map, Pompeo put it away.
On this map, Ukraine is in orange and Bangledesh is in green:
Do we really believe that Kelly, who has a masters degree in European Studies from Cambridge University in England, confused Ukraine and Bangladesh? Pompeo’s parting shot was an attempt to belittle Kelly. This is quite fitting of the Trump administration and their GOP enablers. When they don’t like certain questions–usually questions by women–they try to attack the intelligence of the individual asking the question. Remember this:
And this (fast forward to the “short sentences” line at the 0:40 mark):
(Thanks to Chris Cuomo of CNN for reminding me about these videos. He ran them on his show last night).
And now we come to Pompeo’s tweet this morning. He quotes Proverbs 10:18: “Whoever conceals hatred with lying lips and spreads slander is a fool.” Pompeo uses this verse as a weapon against Kelly. He is saying that Kelly not only lied to him, but in doing so she showed her hatred for the Trump administration (a common GOP mantra against all critics of the president) and she is a fool.
I don’t know if Kelly lied to Pompeo. But if I had to choose between a widely respected journalist and the representative of a presidential administration that lies endlessly to the American people, I will go with the journalist. It is also worth noting that Pompeo’s decision to tweet a verse about lying lips is especially rich coming from Donald Trump’s Secretary of State.
Pompeo’s use of Proverbs 10:18 to attack an NPR journalist is a perversion of Christianity. Historian Robert Caro once said, “power doesn’t corrupt, it reveals.” Pompeo’s weaponizing of scripture here reveals what evangelical Christianity has become over the last forty years of political captivity.