Fox News is gaslighting the American public about how former President Donald Trump would have handled Russian aggression against Ukraine, claiming Trump had been a stronger leader than President Joe Biden and would have better protected vulnerable countries. In reality, Trump often promoted a foreign policy agenda that aligned with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s interests.
The disgraced former president publicly sided with Putin in 2018 against U.S. intelligence officials’ determinations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. He also reportedly sided with Russia, in conversations with other world leaders, over Russia’s illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014. Trump also attempted to extort Ukraine into launching an investigation against then-presidential candidate Biden by withholding military aid vital to their defense against Russia, in a scheme that led to Trump’s first impeachment. (The scheme almost worked, too.)
Trump was also infamously biting toward the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the linchpin of European military security against Russian aggression, calling the organization “obsolete” before being forced to backtrack. Trump publicly wavered in his commitment to NATO's “Article 5” assurances, which bind member states to one another's mutual defense if they were ever to be attacked, before again backtracking.
In Fox News’ alternate reality, none of this happened. Prime-time host Sean Hannity spoke Monday night with Fox News contributor and retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, who held a number of national security positions in the Trump administration, with the two suggesting that Trump had been a stronger leader against Russia.
Hannity is in fact linked to both disgraceful chapters of the Trump-Russia relationship. Hannity took a major role in pushing conspiracy theories meant to absolve Russia from the hack of Democratic emails in 2016, a role that culminated in Fox paying an out-of-court settlement to the parents of murdered Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich.
Hannity also pushed disinformation about Ukraine and the Biden family, as part of a propaganda effort linked to then-Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, which the Fox News’ internal research “Brain Room” eventually acknowledged wasn’t credible. Hannity had also pushed a false narrative that the “real collusion” in 2016 had been between Ukraine and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, thus helping to stoke Trump’s anger and desire to scapegoat the Eastern European country.
On Tuesday morning, Fox’s America’s Newsroom spoke with Fox News contributor and former Trump-era Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who falsely insisted that Trump had been tougher on Russia in comparison to Biden’s alleged weakness.
Pompeo failed to recall, however, the occasion in December 2020, when Trump publicly contradicted Pompeo about Russia being behind a massive hack of the federal government and industries. Pompeo had said that “we can say pretty clearly that it was the Russians,” but Trump instead said that it might have been China. (Trump was also very busy during that period attempting to overturn his defeat in the 2020 election — an assault on American democracy in which Pompeo also seemingly participated.)
And on Tuesday afternoon’s edition of Outnumbered, co-host Harris Faulkner said to co-host and former Trump White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, “The White House response to Russia was quite different in the last administration. Talk to us about it.”
McEnany responded, in part: “The real truth here is this — that there is no greater supporter of the Democrat Party than Vladimir Putin.”
During her time at the White House, McEnany pushed false talking points that investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election had resulted in “the complete and total exoneration of President Trump.”