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