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Mike Pompeo Tried To Roast Nancy Pelosi With A Simpsons Meme But It Was A Massive Self-Own

"When a politician unintentionally plays himself ... Should've watched the episode, bro."

Last updated on February 5, 2020, at 3:46 p.m. ET

Posted on February 5, 2020, at 11:03 a.m. ET

Sergei Gapon / Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo maybe isn't as big a fan of The Simpsons as he thinks he is.

In an apparent reference to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tearing up a copy of President Donald Trump's State of the Union address on Tuesday night, Pompeo tweeted an image of Lisa Simpson weeping on the floor as she rips up pieces of paper.

But the image comes from a key scene in the Season 3, Episode 2, "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington," in which Lisa witnesses firsthand a corrupt politician at work and becomes disillusioned with American democracy.

In the episode, Lisa reaches the finals of a pro-America essay contest and gets to travel to Washington, DC, with her family. One morning, she visits a memorial for a fictional women's rights activist and chances upon her local representative accepting a bribe from a lobbyist in exchange for logging permits for Springfield National Forest, where she got the inspiration to write her essay. Crying, Lisa kneels on the floor and rips up her piece.

During the finals, Lisa reads a different version of her essay expressing her outrage at government corruption and reveals that she saw her member of Congress take a bribe. He is eventually arrested and removed from office, and Lisa once again has faith in the founding ideals of the country.

Mandel Ngan / Getty Images

Now back to real life. Pompeo tweeted the image of Lisa shortly after Trump's SOTU speech was capped by Pelosi tearing a copy of his speech.

Afterward, Pelosi told reporters it was "a courteous thing to do considering the alternative."

Pompeo's tweet, posted without a caption, was presumed to be a swipe at Pelosi.

But given the context of that particular Simpsons episode, many felt it backfired pretty spectacularly.

For the record in this episode Lisa is crying and ripping this shit up rightfully because she’d realized the government was corrupt and fucking sucked

When a politician unintentionally plays himself 😂 Should’ve watched the episode, bro.

So our Secretary of State tweets a Simpson image to own Nancy Pelosi. Except that any Simpson fan knows she is sobbing because she discovers how venal and corrupt the government is. The image is perfect, in other words, just not how @mikepompeo thinks.

lisa was crying because she found out the speech was nothing more than a rhetorical device to justify corruption

The episode where Lisa takes down the corrupt politician.

This is so incredibly embarrassing. Stop the ride. I want to get off.

Some also referenced Pompeo's recent contentious interview with an NPR reporter, after which she said he berated her and asked that she point out Ukraine on a blank map.

Is this supposed to be you after being interviewed for NPR?

NPR asked him a question again

@mikepompeo Tweets the guy who has a full-blown meltdown anytime a journalist asks him a difficult question.

Known for its penchant for poking fun at everyone and everything, The Simpsons has not spared President Trump or members of his administration in the past.

Pompeo's tweet this time raised the ire of at least a couple of Simpsons heavyweights, too.

Mr. Secretary of State please do not ever ever ever use Simpsons material in your twitter or watch the show or refer to it in any way

Bill Oakley, who was a writer, executive producer, and showrunner for The Simpsons, later asked the secretary of state to "please do not ever ever ever use Simpsons material in your twitter or watch the show or refer to it in any way."

Yeardley Smith, the actor who voices Lisa, also criticized Pompeo in a tweet on Wednesday morning.

"I might just add f*ck you @mikepompeo for co-opting my character to troll @SpeakerPelosi," she wrote. "Be a leader and fight you own fight! Oh, wait I forgot, you’re a follower."


Nancy Pelosi is the speaker of the House. An earlier version of this post misstated her title.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.