- Mika Brzezinski on Wednesday ripped into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after he deflected questions on the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during an interview with “Fox & Friends.”
- The MSNBC host said, “Are the pathetic deflections that we just heard – is that a patriot speaking? Or a wannabe dictator’s butt boy?”
- Brzezinski later apologised for her commentary after she was accused of homophobia.
- Pompeo defended the Trump administration’s response to the killing and emphasised the strategic partnership between the US and Saudi Arabia.
- Pompeo was set to brief the House on Khashoggi’s killing later on Wednesday.
Mika Brzezinski on Wednesday ripped into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after he deflected questions on the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during an interview with “Fox & Friends.”
The MSNBC host said, “Are the pathetic deflections that we just heard – is that a patriot speaking? Or a wannabe dictator’s butt boy?”
Brzezinski later apologised for her commentary after she was accused of homophobia and equating “homosexuality with Mike Pompeo carrying water for the murderous regime in Saudi Arabia.”
She said her choice of words was “SUPER BAD” and that she should have “said ‘water boy’ … like for football teams or something like that.” Brzezinski added that she’s “SO SORRY.”
.@morningmika responds to Mike Pompeo downplaying Saudi Arabia murdering dissident journalist and US resident Khashoggi by asking, "are the pathetic deflections that we just heard — is that a patriot speaking? Or a wannabe dictator's butt boy?" pic.twitter.com/xO6VmSqVpa
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 12, 2018
During his interview with “Fox & Friends” earlier in the day, the secretary of state was pressed about President Donald Trump’s response to Khashoggi’s killing, which has put the US-Saudi relationship in a precarious position.
Trump has been criticised for being too soft on the Saudis and accused of undermining the US intelligence community for refusing to hold Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accountable for the brutal killing.
The CIA has reportedly concluded with “high confidence” the crown prince ordered the killing, but Trump has continued to stand by the controversial Saudi ruler.
Pompeo refused to steer away from the Trump administration’s stance on this issue when questioned on Wednesday morning.
The secretary of state said Khashoggi’s killing was “heinous” and noted the Trump administration has imposed sanctions on 17 Saudis allegedly connected to the journalist’s death.
“We’ll continue to develop the facts,” Pompeo said, adding, “But America has an important ally in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They work with us on issues that provide security for America and for Israel.”
“Fox and Friends” host Brian Kilmeade then noted Republican lawmakers, including allies of Trump, have directly blamed the crown prince for Khashoggi’s killing and questioned why the president is continuing to support the kingdom in such a forceful manner.
“But Mr. Secretary they’re the ones who are putting it in peril, not us,” Kilmeade said of the US-Saudi relationship.
Kilmeade added, “They’re the ones who have evidently pulled this off and when you have people like Lindsey Graham, hardly an enemy of the White House, and Bob Corker, and you even have audiotapes. We know that the prince knows, right? You know – you looked him in the eye. You know that he knows.”
Pompeo said the US intends to hold everyone involved accountable, but added, “The kingdom of Saudi Arabia decides who’s running the country … We are working closely with the kingdom to make sure that America is protected.”
The secretary of state also said “some of the reporting you’ve seen” claiming the CIA has concluded the crown prince ordered the hit on Khashoggi is “inaccurate.” He said the facts surrounding Khashoggi’s killing, which occurred in the Saudi consulate on October 2, are still “developing.”
“Fox and Friends” co-host Ainsley Earhardt then noted how “brutal” and “awful” audio tapes of the killing reportedly are and said “someone has the pay the price.” Pompeo claimed the Saudis have “already paid the price” and urged the hosts to “remember” that “Iran is running rampant throughout the Middle East.”
The Trump administration often turns the topic to Iran when pressed over the increasingly strained relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia.
Pompeo was set to brief the House on Khashoggi’s killing later on Wednesday.
The secretary of state’s remarks on “Fox and Friends” came after Trump defended Prince Mohammed yet again in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday. “He’s the leader of Saudi Arabia. They have been a very good ally,” Trump said.
Trump has been accused of helping the Saudis “cover up” Khashoggi’s killing.