Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized a Bloomberg News report Thursday about the timing of his wife’s COVID-19 diagnosis, saying that neither one of them attended “any State Department nor White House holiday parties.”
“This isn’t journalism and it’s worse than gossip — it’s unethical and potentially unlawful,” Pompeo tweeted Thursday.
The tweet that Pompeo was responding to by Bloomberg News reporter Nicholas Wadhams, which has since been deleted, said that Susan Pompeo tested positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 16 and “went to a State Department holiday party the day before tho [sic] it’s not clear when she contracted the virus.”
Pompeo said after the tweet was deleted that it was “good to see this tweet — with patently false information — was deleted.”
Pompeo announced on Dec. 16 that he was going into quarantine after being exposed, and that his department was canceling the last of their holiday parties this year.
The State Department slammed the leak of Susan Pompeo’s diagnosis Thursday.
“Unfortunately, over the last few years I have seen a persistent culture of leaks arising from some of my colleagues, which I find unacceptable,” Department of State Under Secretary for Political Affairs David Hale told Fox News.
“No one’s health status should be discussed in the media through anonymously sourced leaks, and I am incredibly disappointed that some of my colleagues have chosen to violate the privacy every individual deserves as it relates to their medical status.”
The Trump administration came under fire recently for holding large indoor holiday parties in recent weeks despite surging coronavirus cases across the country.
The American Foreign Service Administration, which represents diplomats, said on Dec. 4th that it “is very concerned to see reports of plans to host holiday parties with hundreds of invitees at the Department of State.”
“The Department’s leadership has urged embassies and consulates around the world to host only virtual holiday gatherings this year,” the AFSA said in a statement at the time. “It is therefore disconcerting to hear of these plans, which not only go against the Department’s own guidelines but also health regulations in Washington, D.C. and the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
Despite that, the State Department and the White House did hold multiple in-person parties.
Last week, less than a tenth of the 900 people invited to a party at the State Department actually attended the event, according to The Washington Post.
Pompeo was scheduled to speak at that event, but canceled for an unknown reason, the newspaper reported.
Coronavirus cases are currently surging throughout the country, setting a grim record with 18,681 new deaths in the last week, according to Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. now has 18,458,373 confirmed cases and 326,124 deaths from the disease.
Fox News’ Rich Edson contributed to this report.