New York Times slams AWOL Pompeo, then learns he was rescuing Americans

As the New York Times was bashing Mike Pompeo for being missing in action while President Trump tore up the Iran nuclear deal, it turned out the secretary of state was busy rescuing three Americans who have been held captive in North Korea.

In an apparent jab at the administration, The Times’ headline said, “At a Key Moment, Trump’s Top Diplomat Is Again Thousands of Miles Away.”

The Times’ story noted that “Senior State Department officials were momentarily speechless on Tuesday when asked why Mr. Pompeo did not delay his trip by a day to be in Washington during Mr. Trump’s Iran deal announcement.”

It became clear on Wednesday morning why Pompeo didn’t delay his trip to Pyongyang when Trump took to Twitter.

“I am pleased to inform you that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in the air and on his way back from North Korea with the 3 wonderful gentlemen that everyone is looking so forward to meeting. They seem to be in good health,” Trump wrote. “Secretary Pompeo and his ‘guests’ will be landing at Andrews Air Force Base at 2:00 A.M. in the morning. I will be there to greet them. Very exciting!”

The Times story noted that Pompeo was expected to return from his trip with the detainees in the caption of a photo accompanying the story, so it's curious why the headline attempted to paint his trip in a negative light.

The New York Times did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The story, written by Gardiner Harris, focused on Trump’s top diplomat being absent when Trump “made what could be the most significant diplomatic announcement of his presidency” by pulling out of the Iran nuclear agreement.

“The absence of Mr. Pompeo and other top State Department officials left perplexed European diplomats privately complaining that they were having trouble getting answers from Washington,” Harris wrote.

The Times story also mocked Pompeo’s plane, reporting that it “has such poor equipment that calls are often dropped midsentence.”

It turned out that Pompeo’s absence was more than justified, and any aging technology on his plane didn’t prevent him from leaving Pyongyang with three Americans that have been held captive overseas. The detainees -- Tony Kim, Kim Hak Song and Kim Dong Chul -- are presumably thankful that Pompeo didn’t push back his trip to satisfy European diplomats

In addition to rescuing three Americans, Pompeo also helped arrange a date and location for Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong Un, according to Trump.

President Trump on Wednesday reacted to The Times article on Twitter saying "The Failing New York Times criticized Secretary of State Pompeo for being AWOL (missing), when in fact he was flying to North Korea. Fake News, so bad!"

In a follow-up tweet, the president said he was "looking forward to greeting the Hostages (no more) at 2:00 A.M."

Fox News’ Adam Shaw and Elizabeth Zwirz contributed to this report