Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and NBC anchor Andrea Mitchell got into a heated Twitter exchange regarding Pompeo’s travel on Wednesday.
Pompeo faced scrutiny for his recent speech to students at Georgia Tech due to the state’s high-stakes Senate runoff races being only weeks away.
Mitchell suggested that Pompeo had violated the Hatch Act and accused him of being hypocritical for criticizing previous secretaries of state for traveling.
The Hatch Act limits the political activity of public officials in the executive branch to give them the appearance of being non-partisan.
“[email protected] to speak in Georgia ahead of Senate runoffs. Political? He says ‘When Sec. Kerry traveled to Massachusetts or Sec. Clinton traveled to NY those were coastal elite states. Those were all fine for secretaries to travel to’ Huh? That’s where their families lived,” Mitchell tweeted.
Pompeo quickly went on the defense, saying that the trip was planned before the runoffs, which were triggered after the Nov. 3 general election.
“Andrea – Do some reporting. When I went home to Kansas to see family, your network was howling saying I was violating the Hatch Act. The claims were found to be bogus. This trip was planned long before the Georgia runoff. Do some reporting,” Pompeo said.
Andrea – Do some reporting. When I went home to Kansas to see family, your network was howling saying I was violating the Hatch Act. The claims were found to be bogus. This trip was planned long before the Georgia runoff. Do some reporting. https://t.co/9fHEjUzvrl
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) December 9, 2020
But Mitchell would not let Pompeo have the last word.
“Mr. Secretary thank you for finally answering one of my questions!” she replied.
Mr. Secretary thank you for finally answering one of my questions! https://t.co/LQxa84RM6q
— Andrea Mitchell (@mitchellreports) December 9, 2020
Pompeo and Mitchell’s battle on social media perfectly defines the soured relationship between the Trump administration and the press.
Unfortunately, social media has fueled a culture where comebacks and snide comments are considered currency.
The interaction between Pompeo and Mitchell was unproductive at best, and I am sure nobody felt enlightened after reading the exchange.
Journalists serving the role as government watchdogs is a necessary part of American democracy, but will this the same tough attitude continue throughout the presumptive Biden administration?
As the administration will be dealing with COVID-19, an economic recovery and a rocky relationship with China, there are plenty of questions that will need to be asked.
No presidential administration deserves a free pass, regardless of their political party.