- Fox News host Pete Hegseth defended former President Donald Trump’s praise for Russia.
- He said Trump continues to “troll” the media about Russian President Vladimir Putin.
- On Tuesday, Trump lauded Putin’s justification for invading Ukraine as “wonderful.”
On Tuesday evening, Fox News host Pete Hegseth defended former President Donald Trump’s recent glowing description of Russia’s invasion into Ukraine, saying Trump was simply trying to troll the media.
Trump had earlier that day praised Russian President Vladimir Putin, calling Putin’s justification for sending troops into Ukrainian territory “savvy” and “genius.”
Hegseth said on the Fox show “Jesse Watters Primetime:” “Here’s the reality, Vladimir Putin lives rent-free in the minds of our media, of the American media. No organism, no entity has done more to spread Russian propaganda and to prop up the strawman that is Vladimir Putin than our very own media.”
“And Donald Trump was happy to troll them on it, as he continues to do to this moment,” Hegseth continued. “Because they can’t resist it, and they’ll obsess over it.”
—Acyn (@Acyn) February 23, 2022
Hegseth, who co-hosts the show “Fox and Friends,” went on to criticize President Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama, saying that Vladimir Putin took advantage of their “weakness” and that the Russian leader conversely “saw a peer” in Trump.
Fox News did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Putin on Monday recognized the independence of two breakaway republics in Ukraine — Luhansk and Donetsk — and ordered troops into those regions as a “peacekeeping” operation. Western leaders have widely condemned the move and declared sanctions on Russia amid concerns of an all-out invasion into Ukraine by the Kremlin.
However, Trump lauded Moscow’s actions in an interview on the “Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show” from Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday.
“Putin declares a big portion of the Ukraine — of Ukraine — Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that’s wonderful,” Trump told the hosts. “I said, ‘How smart is that?’ And he’s going to go in and be a peacekeeper.”