Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Friday to discuss the early January drone strike that killed top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and escalated tensions with the country. But the hearing quickly turned into a debate over the deadly virus, which has spread globally.
During the hearing, Pompeo was asked by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) if he agreed with Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney that “the coronavirus is 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,” Lieu said. “Do you agree with Donald Trump’s chief of staff Mulvaney that the coronavirus is the hoax of the day?”
“The State Department is doing everything it can to protect American citizens around the world,” Pompeo began replying before Lieu interrupted.
“Do you believe coronavirus is a hoax?” Lieu said.
“I’m not going to comment on what others are saying,” Pompeo replied. “I’m just telling you what the secretary of State is doing.”
“It’s not even a gotcha question,” Lieu continued. “Do you believe the coronavirus is a hoax?”
“It is a gotcha moment,” Pompeo said. “It’s not useful.”
Asked again, Pompeo said: “We’re taking it seriously.”
Lieu went on to call it “shameful” that Pompeo thinks he’s working for a political party and couldn’t answer a simple question.
#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