- The Washington Times - Monday, January 27, 2020

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will address the graduating class of Liberty University in Virginia at its commencement this May.

The university, known for being an influential institution in conservative politics, announced their keynote speaker in a statement Monday morning and highlighted Mr. Pompeo’s efforts to protect religious freedoms around the world — a move that has been criticized by human rights organizations.

“Secretary Pompeo is a man who leads our nation with excellence and with a passion for protecting our citizens at home and abroad,” the university said. “He proudly defends the freedoms upon which our country was founded, and he understands and fully supports the faith community and our mission here at Liberty.”

The announcement comes on the heels of a contentious saga between Mr. Pompeo and an NPR reporter who claimed she was ridiculed and shouted at by the secretary in his private office at department headquarters after an interview in which he had resisted her questions about the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.

Mr. Pompeo strongly defended himself against the claims and in a statement alleged the journalist “lied” to him about the topic of the interview, and said the reporter “chose to violate the basic rules of journalism and decency.”

The statement quickly received backlash from Democratic lawmakers in Congress who said “accountability is paramount to any free and democratic nation. … Your insulting and contemptuous comments are beneath the office of the Secretary of State.”

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