The U.S. State Department is protesting “at the highest level” evangelist Pat Robertson’s comments on his television program suggesting its Foggy Bottom headquarters be blown up with a nuclear weapon.
Richard Boucher, spokesman for the State Department, called the remarks, made last week on Robertson’s “700 Club” program, “despicable.”
“I lack sufficient capabilities to express my disdain,” Boucher told reporters when asked about the comments. “I think the very idea, though, is despicable.”
Robertson is aware of Secretary of State Colin Powell’s extreme outrage at the tone and content of the remarks, a senior official told Agence France-Presse.
“That’s not the way one expresses an opinion in Washington,” the official said.
The remarks came during an interview with National Review columnist Joel Mowbray, who also is a critic of the State Department.
Robertson referred to Mowbray’s new book, “Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens American Security,” which alleges the agency appeases sponsors of terrorism, ignores U.S. citizens abroad who are in trouble and mishandles visas, to the detriment of security.
The evangelist said after he read Mowbray’s book, he thought, ‘If I could just get a nuclear device inside Foggy Bottom, I think that’s the answer,'” Robertson said, according to a transcript on the website of his Christian Broadcasting Network.
“I mean, you get through this, and you say [to yourself], ‘We’ve got to blow that thing up.’ I mean, is it as bad as you say?” Robertson asked.
“It is,” Mowbray responded.
The Christian Broadcasting Network said Robertson is traveling and cannot be reached for comment until after the weekend.