Prompted by complaints from Trump administration media critics, a hostage rights group withdrew its “Freedom Award” to Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, the Washington Examiner reported Wednesday.
The James W. Foley Legacy Foundation — named for the journalist beheaded in 2014 by ISIS forces — had announced Tuesday night at the National Press Club that Pompeo would receive the 2019 award to recognize his and President Donald Trump’s administration focus on freeing Americans held prisoners around the world.
But soon, the foundation not only yanked the prize but disinvited Pompeo from the event because of “protests from angered media members who threatened to disrupt the event,” the Examiner’s Paul Bedard reported.
Instead, the Foundation gave the prize to Brett McGurk, the Obama-era diplomat who helped win the release of Americans from Iran including journalist Jason Rezaian. Rezaian received the group’s journalism award.
According to Bedard, who cited unnamed sources, the hostage rights group’s “media partners” promised to boycott the event if Pompeo got the award. He also reported keynote speaker CNN’s Christiane Amanpour was concerned about Pompeo getting the award.
Pompeo called the situation “sad” and “cynical,” Bedard reported, citing a letter he sent to Foley’s mother and foundation president, Diane Foley.
“How sad is it that base politics and hatred have been allowed to creep into even this sphere of our national activity?” Pompeo wrote, Bedard reported. “The safe recovery of Americans held hostage overseas should be beyond politics and must enjoy the support of all Americans."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.