Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The fear of giving the president ammo to mock you with

But her tenure at State has not been without its hiccups or missteps, including a bizarre kerfuffle that since July has reverberated throughout various echelons of the administration, such as the West Wing, and was dubbed by one senior Trump administration official as “the Pompeo cheese incident.” It was prompted by a story published in Bloomberg by its State Department correspondent Nick Wadhams titled, “Inside Pompeo’s Fraught North Korea Trip,” which included a simple, blink-and-you-miss-it pair of sentences:

“By the morning of his second day, Pompeo had enough. Instead of the elaborate breakfast prepared for him, he ate toast and slices of processed cheese.”

Those two sentences sparked a minor crisis for Nauert. Pompeo, those close to him say, is acutely aware of media coverage of himself, cognizant of how other senior officials and cabinet secretaries have fallen out of favor with the president due to embarrassing or negative reporting on them. The president, a voracious consumer of media and TV, has also been known take unflattering tidbits from articles and use them to humiliate underlings and associates, say several people close to Trump.

According to three sources with knowledge of what transpired, Pompeo was absolutely livid when he read that Bloomberg had reported he’d eaten processed, Velveeta-style cheese during his diplomatic jaunt.