Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee Friday to discuss the January drone strike that killed top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ elite Quds Force, at Baghdad International Airport.
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) became visibly frustrated with Pompeo when the Secretary of State avoided answering the California congressman’s question pertaining to the coronavirus. Pompeo called what Lieu was trying to do a “gotcha moment”.
Rep. Ted Lieu confronted Mike Pompeo by asking him if he believes “the coronavirus is a hoax.”
He brought up White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who earlier in the day had suggested that the news media was ignoring the coronavirus until now, because outlets were too focused on President Trump’s impeachment before that, which he called a “hoax.”
“Donald Trump’s chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told the Conservative Political Action Conference [CPAC] that the coronavirus was the hoax of the day. Do you agree with Donald Trump’s chief of staff Mulvaney that the coronavirus is the hoax of the day? Rep. Lieu asked Pompeo.
“The State Department is doing everything it can to protect American citizens around the world,” Mike Pompeo replied, to which Rep. Lieu interrupted the Secretary of State. (Continued Below)
“Do you believe the coronavirus is a hoax?” Lieu asked repeatedly, which prompted Pompeo to respond: “I’m not going to comment on what others are saying. I’m just telling you what the Secretary of State is doing. … We’re working to keep people safe.”
“You can’t even answer that question,” Lieu said to Pompeo. “It’s not even a gotcha question. Do you believe the coronavirus is a hoax?”
“It is a gotcha moment,” Pompeo told Lieu. “It’s not useful. We’re taking it seriously”. (Continued Below)
Rep. Lieu went on to call it “shameful” that Pompeo wouldn’t say the coronavirus is not a hoax while becoming visibly frustrated at Pompeo, who was attending CPAC later in the day.
“You sir represent all Americans, not a special interest group. It is shameful you can’t even answer basic questions,” he vented.
After the hearing, the California representative shared the exchange onto Twitter, accusing Pompeo of “being too scared to even say [the coronavirus] is not a hoax.”
“The problem with @SecPompeo being too scared to even say #coronavirusus is not a hoax is not just that he lacks a spine, it also compounds the misinformation coming from the @realDonaldTrump Administration on an issue of life and death. #FridayThoughts”, Ted Lieu tweeted. (Video Below)
Official exchange between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Rep. Ted Lieu:
#WATCH: Rep. Ted Lieu: "It's not even a gotcha question. Do you believe the corona virus is a hoax?"
Sec of State Mike Pompeo: "It is a gotcha moment. It's not useful."pic.twitter.com/3Fk9e7sqS3
— Jennifer Franco (@jennfranconews) February 28, 2020
Rep. Ted Lieu’s official tweet:
The problem with @SecPompeo being too scared to even say #coronavirusus is not a hoax is not just that he lacks a spine, it also compounds the misinformation coming from the @realDonaldTrump Administration on an issue of life and death.#FridayThoughts https://t.co/SKVIm74HX5
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) February 28, 2020