Fox News’ Martha MacCallum praises Zelensky in comparison to Biden — after previously defending Trump’s extortion of the Ukrainian president

In 2019, MacCallum brushed off Trump withholding military aid to Ukraine as “Trump being Trump”

In a perfect illustration of Fox News’ shameless and hypocritical approach to political coverage, the network’s purported “straight news” anchor Martha MacCallum opined that President Joe Biden’s status as a world leader paled in comparison to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who is now leading his country’s resistance against Russia’s invasion. MacCallum previously defended former President Donald Trump’s attempted extortion of Zelensky in 2019.

As the evidence of Trump’s malfeasance piled up in 2019, MacCallum sought to brush off the entire scandal as simply “Trump being Trump.” This was a sharp contrast to March 1, when she offered admonitions that Biden must “lay out exactly where we stand” against Putin and in support of Ukraine — which Biden has been doing, while leading the global effort to impose economic sanctions against Russia.

Appearing on America’s Newsroom to comment on Biden’s upcoming State of the Union address, MacCallum argued that President Joe Biden would have a hard time measuring up in public perceptions “when you’re seeing Zelensky, and you’re witnessing what strong leadership looks like. It’s very decisive, it’s very clear.”

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Citation From the March 1, 2022, edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom with Bill Hemmer & Dana Perino

BILL HEMMER (CO-ANCHOR): I want to share a number with you. ABC poll, approve or disapprove of the way the president’s handling his job: Approve 37 (percent), disapprove 55. So, that’s the room he walks into tonight, metaphorically speaking.

MARTHA MACCALLUM (FOX NEWS ANCHOR): That is the room he walks into tonight. Obviously, this president is under a lot of pressure. Look at a couple of other numbers, these are from the most recent Fox News polls. Is he a strong leader? Sixty-one percent say no. That's what he has — that’s what he’s up against tonight. And you’re walking into this at a time when you’re seeing [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky, and you’re witnessing what strong leadership really looks like. It’s very decisive, it’s very clear. I think one of the jobs for the president tonight is to lay out exactly where we stand, and that Putin must stop, that Putin must back down, and that we will do everything in our power to make sure that's what’s happened.

MacCallum also praised the Ukrainian people for carrying on the fight against Russian invaders, describing the “stunning outpouring, the likes of which we haven’t seen since World II,” further adding at the end of the segment that “they really do have the heart of all of the world,” and that she “thought Zelensky was brilliant this morning” during a video conference appearance with leaders of the European Union.

Contrast MacCallum’s effusive praise of Zelensky with how she treated the Ukrainian president during the Trump administration.

Trump withheld military aid for Ukraine’s self-defense in 2019, while he was secretly pressuring Zelensky to launch a bogus and politically-motivated investigation against Joe Biden. The military aid was eventually delivered, following congressional pressure, but the ensuing scandal led to Trump’s first impeachment by the House. Trump was acquitted at the Senate trial, aided by Senate Republicans as well as Fox News’ extensive propaganda campaign, which argued his attempt to strong-arm the Ukrainian government in its efforts to defend itself did not merit removal from office.

At the time, MacCallum did her part in the network’s ridiculous attacks on the impeachment investigation, arguing that the identity of the unnamed whistleblower “might reveal motivations, might reveal relationships, might reveal bias” against the president. This argument echoed an unsubstantiated line of attack from the network’s opinion side, and even then would have been irrelevant as to whether or not Trump had committed the acts in question.

During Fox’s coverage of the impeachment hearings in November 2019, MacCallum acknowledged that, based on witness testimonies, “it was obviously very important” to Trump that the Ukrainian government “would investigate Joe Biden as well as part of that arrangement.”

“Now, the question that comes out of that is, is that, you know, Trump being Trump, so to speak?” MacCallum asked. “Is it the president pushing for a little bit more before he gets anything out of this Ukraine relationship?”

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Citation From the November 13, 2019, edition of Fox News' Fox News Reporting

MacCallum also pointed to the transcript of Trump’s phone call with Zelensky, arguing that Trump “wanted to continue to hammer home that it was not Russia” that had intervened in the 2016 presidential election, and that “he wanted to press this idea that Ukraine needed to be looked into” regarding the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s emails.

This was based on yet another set of fake conspiracy theories involved in the phone call. And just to be clear, the hacking was in fact committed by Russians on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s orders.