“This administration’s treatment of the press has been adversarial, let’s say, at the least,” Booker said.
“That’s a generous way of putting it,” Booker admitted, clarifying, it more accurately should be described as “vicious.”
Taking the hearing down Memory Lane, Booker reminded Pompeo it started on Trump’s first day in office when he attacked the media for its accurate reporting on his inauguration crowd size. Trump has called the press the enemy of the people, Booker said. Trump’s ‘Fake News’ tirades have “become almost a meme of sort in our country” as well as “around the planet where we have journalists imprisoned at a pretty significant rate that is at an historic high.”
Booker forgot to mention it will be one year next month since Trump tweeted “the failing New York Times has disgraced the media world. Gotten me wrong for two solid years. Change the libel laws?”
As head of the CIA, Pompeo oversees an org that is understandably “opaque,” Booker granted. But he aspires to be confirmed as new SoS, which Booker insisted has a “culture of much more openness toward the press.”
After that very long wind-up, Booker finally asked Pompeo, “You don’t believe the press is the enemy of the state, do you?”
“I do not think so,” responded Pompeo, who seeks to replace Rex Tillerson. Tillerson famously got the hook by Trump tweet.
“And you are going to engage with the press and be transparent and allow robust engagement?” Booker continued to press.
“It is my…intention, yes,” Pompeo promised.
And, if confirmed as SoS, “as you travel internationally you will be an apostle of the idea of the the free press?” the New Jersey senator continued.
“Yes,” Pompeo vowed.
Booker also asked Pompeo if, in his international travels as SoS, he would be an “apostle of the idea of a free press.”
Pompeo replied in the affirmative.