The mainstream media was sent into a frenzy over comments made by Donald Trump about the situation in Ukraine, with Trump supposedly heaping lavish “praise” on Russian President Vladimir Putin.
CNN, for example, repeatedly seized upon the comments which most major outlets reported as him calling Putin “genius” and “very savvy.”
An editorial penned by Michael D’Antonio describes Trump’s words as “lavish praise” adding that it’s hard to imagine the former President saying “anything more disturbing” and accusing him of “(siding) with America’s opponents.”
CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer called his words a “complementary tone.”
“The de facto leader of (the Republican) party is spending his time praising – praising – Vladimir Putin,” a seemingly distraught Blitzer reported.”
“Republicans are blasting President Biden for being too weak on Russia, but the de facto leader of the Party is spending his time praising Vladimir Putin.” – CNN’s @WolfBlitzer reports on Trump’s recent comments on the Russian leader’s moves in Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/YO1vIQ7g9j
— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) February 23, 2022
But is that what really happened, or is that a narrative being pushed by a media with an agenda against Trump?
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Trump’s ‘Praise’ For Putin Taken Out of Context?
President Trump’s biggest issue may have been his typical attempts to interject sarcasm into his commentary and the subsequent unwillingness of the media to ever give Trump a good-faith airing.
“It’s like they’re pretending not to understand or even be able to read in context English, sarcasm, intent,” radio host Buck Sexton, one of those involved in the interview where Trump made the comments, said. “They’re just being intentionally obtuse.”
Clay Travis, the other host of The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show, added that the media had simply “reacted to … just a little clip” in a much longer discussion surrounding Ukraine, essentially taking Trump’s words out of context in order to paint their narrative.
The pair posted a full transcript of Trump’s comments along with audio of the discussion.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I went in yesterday and there was a television screen, and I said, “This is genius.” Putin declares a big portion of the Ukraine — of Ukraine. Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that’s wonderful. So, Putin is now saying, “It’s independent,” a large section of Ukraine. I said, “How smart is that?” And he’s gonna go in and be a peacekeeper. That’s strongest peace force… We could use that on our southern border. That’s the strongest peace force I’ve ever seen. There were more army tanks than I’ve ever seen. They’re gonna keep peace all right.
No, but think of it. Here’s a guy who’s very savvy… I know him very well. Very, very well. By the way, this never would have happened with us. Had I been in office, not even thinkable. This would never have happened. But here’s a guy that says, you know, “I’m gonna declare a big portion of Ukraine independent,” he used the word “independent,” “and we’re gonna go out and we’re gonna go in and we’re gonna help keep peace.” You gotta say that’s pretty savvy. And you know what the response was from Biden? There was no response. They didn’t have one for that. No, it’s very sad.
It does not take a genius to figure out Trump’s sarcastic tone when using the phrase “oh that’s wonderful” or later when he scoffs at Putin’s claims of sending peacekeepers into Ukraine by responding, “They’re going to keep peace alright.”
Listening to the clip, you can hear the sarcasm in Trump’s voice inflections as well.
“You listen to (the) entire context, he’s, first of all, being sarcastic about the idea of peacekeepers but he’s saying it’s so sad that Biden has been played due to Putin’s savvy into such an uncomfortable chess position on the board,” Travis said rehashing the interview.
“He’s saying that would have never happened if I were president,” Travis added. “I agree with everything that he said there!”
“It is so dishonest to even try and spin it the way that they did.”
Fake News! Our Trump Interview Taken Totally Out of Context
“They pretend not to understand the English language so they can disingenuously bash #Trump.” – @BuckSexton #FakeNews #Ukrainehttps://t.co/1Jt21eA8EQ pic.twitter.com/RiPCQZaDIK
— Clay & Buck (@clayandbuck) February 23, 2022
Media Ran With It
This clip seems to be a bit of a Rorschach test for the media. Did they hear what they wanted to hear? Something that would go along with the narrative that’s been spun since 2015 about Trump and Russia?
He used sarcasm as a tool to point out that Biden is being outsmarted and that this situation never would have happened under his administration.
And boy did the media ever run with it, using the term “praise” in conjunction with Trump’s comments over and over again. Here is a sampling of headlines:
- Forbes – ‘This Is Genius’: Trump Praises Putin’s Move Into Ukraine–And Blasts Biden
- NPR – Trump praises Putin as ‘savvy’ amid new escalations on Russia-Ukraine border
- CNN – What Trump’s lavish praise of Putin reveals
- Newsweek – State Department Addresses Trump’s Praise of Putin: ‘I Have No Words’
- Huffington Post – Stephen Colbert Spots Extremely Weird Line In Trump’s Latest Putin Praise
- Washington Post – With his praise for Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Trump makes his apologists look foolish. Again.
Aside from the headlines, commentary was filled across the major networks with a similar take on what Trump had said.
Take a listen:
The point behind Trump’s comments, to my reading, is that Putin’s ‘genius’ and ‘savvy’ moves are transparently not peacekeeping. That’s called sarcasm.
So what do you think? Take our poll: