Voice of America White House reporter Patsy Widakuswara was reassigned Monday evening just hours after pressing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on whether he regretted saying there would be a second Trump administration after President-elect Joe Biden’s victory was apparent.
While Pompeo was attending the U.S. government-owned international broadcaster’s headquarters in Washington to make an address, he did not say anything about last week’s assault on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, and was not asked about it in a back and forth session with Voice of America’s new director Robert Reilly.
While walking out of the building VOA reporter Patsy Widakuswara attempted to question Pompeo.
She then asked Reilly himself, “…why did you not ask any of the questions that we wanted to know about?”
He asked who she was, and Widakuswara identified herself as a Voice of America White House reporter. An irate Reilly can be heard saying, “You obviously don’t know how to behave,” adding, she wasn’t “authorized” to be there to ask questions.
Reilly’s deputy, a former State Department official under Pompeo, announced they were done and later on Monday made the request to reassign Widakuswara away from covering the White House.
“It is not fake news for you to broadcast that this is the greatest nation in the history of the world and the greatest nation civilization has ever known. I’m not saying this to ignore our faults,” Pompeo said in his remarks Monday. “But this isn’t the ‘Vice of America,’ focusing on everything that’s wrong with our great nation. It’s the ‘Voice of America.’ It certainly isn’t the place to give authoritarian regimes in Beijing or Tehran a platform.”
On Tuesday, Pompeo made remarks without providing hard evidence that al Qaeda had established a new home base in Iran and that it was time “for America and all free nations to crush the Iran-al-Qaeda axis.”
With eight days left in President Donald Trump’s term, Pompeo said Iran had allowed al Qaeda, the group blamed for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, to establish a new operational headquarters there despite skepticism about the claim within the U.S. intelligence community and among independent analysts.
See more at Reuters.