Opinion: Trump’s ‘Fox & Friends’ interview showed us, once again, how little he actually cares about Ukraine
You never have to wait long for President Trump to say something that refutes whatever argument his allies have been making in his defense.
Friday morning, the president did an interview with his most reliable television cheerleaders, Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends,” where he repeated the bat-guano-crazy notion that some rich Ukrainian has the Democratic National Committee email server that was memorably hacked during the 2016 presidential campaign.
For the record:
11:10 AM, Nov. 23, 2019
Referring to the DNC, presumably, Trump told the show’s hosts, “They gave the server to CrowdStrike or whatever it’s called, which is a company owned by a very wealthy Ukrainian, and I still want to see that server,” according to the Hill. Adding that “a lot of it had to do, they say, with Ukraine,” Trump asked, “Why did they give it to a Ukrainian company?”
So much to unpack here! But rather than offering a close textual analysis, let me just put Trump’s comments in context.
One of the defenses that Republicans have offered for Trump pressuring Ukraine to perform two politically tinged investigations on his behalf was that the president was understandably and justifiably concerned about corruption in that country. To back that up, they point to a series of anti-Trump comments by Ukrainian officials in 2016, the corruption allegations that Ukrainians raised that year against Trump’s then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and some alleged contacts between a DNC contractor and the Ukrainian embassy in search of damaging information about Trump.
But Trump’s own comments betray no interest whatsoever in such topics. Instead, as the impeachment hearings have shown, he is obsessed with two things: the idea that former Vice President Joe Biden, in joining the rest of the Western world in pushing for the ouster of a corrupt Ukrainian prosecutor several years ago, was somehow trying to protect his son from an investigation the prosecutor had torpedoed; and the notion that Ukrainians had somehow manufactured the evidence that Russians hacked the DNC’s email server.
In other words, Trump’s concerns weren’t about the corruption that was draining billions of dollars from Ukraine’s economy and making the country a minefield for foreign investors. He was focused on a fanciful tale about the origin of a computer hack that had helped his campaign, and a through-the-looking-glass allegation of corruption against one of his top 2020 opponents.
For the record, CrowdStrike is a California company co-founded by a Soviet emigre. So, not Ukrainian. And the idea that Ukrainians, not Russians, were behind the DNC hack has been discredited over and over and over.
Trump’s CrowdStrike villifying is so fact-defying, even Trump’s bestest TV buddy, “Fox & Friends” host Steve Doocy, pushed back Friday. Ever so gently. But still.
“Are you sure they did that?” Doocy asked after Trump claimed the DNC gave its server to “a Ukrainian company.”
Replied Trump, “That’s what the word is.” Which is just his way of saying, “That’s my story, and I’m sticking with it.”
A cure for the common opinion
Get thought-provoking perspectives with our weekly newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.