A week ago today, Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, delivered some rather brutal testimony to the congressional impeachment inquiry, further cementing the fact that Donald Trump and his associates hatched a scheme that prioritized the president's interests over the United States'. This morning, the president appeared on Fox News and made his first extended public comments about Yovanovitch,
From the transcript:
"Look, the ambassador, the woman, she wouldn't even put up -- she's an Obama person.... This ambassador that, you know, everybody says is so wonderful, she wouldn't hang my picture in the embassy, OK? She's in charge of the embassy. She wouldn't hang it."It took like a year and a half or two years for her to get the picture up. She said bad things about me. She wouldn't defend me. And I have the right to change an ambassador. [...]"This was an Obama person. Wouldn't -- didn't want to hang my picture in the embassy. It's standard as you put the president of the United States picture in an embassy. This was not an angel, this woman, OK? And there are a lot of things that she did that I didn't like and we will talk about that at some time."
First, Yovanovitch has served diplomatic roles for decades across multiple presidents from both parties. To dismiss her as an "Obama person" is absurd.
Second, Trump is apparently preoccupied with whether embassies feature his picture, which is a little weird, and in this case, wrong. A person connected to Yovanovitch's legal team told NBC News today, "The Embassy in Kyiv hung the official photographs of the president, vice president, and secretary of state as soon as they arrived from Washington, D.C."
By some accounts, those photographs didn't arrive in embassies until nearly a year into his presidency.
Third, the president wants us to believe there are "things" about Yovanovitch that will reach the public "at some time," but this page from the Joe McCarthy playbook is the sort of gambit Trump tries all the time. There's never any follow through, because the "things" never exist outside his overactive imagination.
But putting aside the lies and the smears, there is a core truth that Yovanovitch that Trump has not and cannot address: she was ousted without cause because she stood in the way of a corrupt scheme.