After Navalny’s death, a Fox host ignores Trump’s pro-Putin past

Hours after news broke that Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny died in a Russian prison camp, a Fox News host took to the air to rewrite history, claiming that he might still be alive if “a different president” were in office. Given the context, it is impossible to imagine this as anything other than a veiled reference to Donald Trump.

The fact of the matter is that former Trump has a record of being very soft on Russian President Vladimir Putin, including when Navalny himself was poisoned by the Kremlin. Navalny spoke out about it in October 2020:

As Philip Bump reports in The Washington Post, Trump never condemned the poisoning and had a weak track record on Russian aggresssion. And right-wing media figures have spent a decade praising Putin's aggression and authoritarianism.

As an example, one only needs to look back at Trump's disastrous press conference with Putin in 2018, which received bipartisan condemnation. From a New York Times report:

President Trump stood next to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Monday and publicly challenged the conclusion of his own intelligence agencies that Moscow interfered in the 2016 presidential election, wrapping up what he called a “deeply productive” summit meeting with an extraordinary show of trust for a leader accused of attacking American democracy.

In a remarkable news conference, Mr. Trump did not name a single action for which Mr. Putin should be held accountable. Instead, he saved his sharpest criticism for the United States and the special counsel investigation into the election interference, calling it a “ridiculous” probe and a “witch hunt” that has kept the two countries apart.


Some political allies worried that the encounter with Mr. Putin would linger over Republicans heading into the midterm elections this fall.

“President Trump must clarify his statements in Helsinki on our intelligence system and Putin,” Newt Gingrich, the former Republican speaker of the House who has advised Mr. Trump, said on Twitter. “It is the most serious mistake of his presidency and must be corrected — immediately.”