Fox News host Maria Bartiromo was put through the wringer after she absurdly claimed without evidence that the Biden administration sees Russian President Vladimir Putin more as a partner than an enemy.
During an appearance on “Fox & Friends” Sunday morning, the Donald Trump apologist criticized President Joe Biden’s response to Russia’s war on Ukraine as “underwhelming and not enough.” She declared that unnamed sources told her they “feel” that the administration is cozy with the Russian dictator.
“Some people have told me over the weekend that they feel that at the end of the day this administration does not see Putin as the enemy; they see him as a partner on many issues,” Bartiromo said.
The assertion was baffling to many online commentators, given Bartiromo’s unwavering support for Biden’s predecessor, who notoriously fawned over Putin during his presidency.
As Russian aggression mounted last month, Trump sparked furor for praising Putin as “savvy” and “genius” in surrounding Ukraine.
Trump declined to condemn the autocrat or walk back the adulation, even after Sean Hannity fed him multiple prompts to do so last week.
Though some are calling for harsher consequences still, Biden has imposed unprecedented sanctions targeting the Russian economy. He’s also approved hundreds of millions of dollars of military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine, including the transfer of weapons from U.S. stockpiles.
The U.S. and its NATO allies have resisted taking certain steps, such as declaring a no-fly zone over Ukraine, to avoid direct conflict with Russia that could escalate into war between nuclear superpowers.
Bartiromo’s name was trending on Twitter throughout the day as criticism mounted over her coverage.
The Fox News host, who was named in a $2.7 billion defamation suit against the network for elevating false claims in the wake of the 2020 election, has dramatically changed her tune on Ukraine since the invasion.
In the lead-up, she suggested Biden was inflating the threats from Russia as a distraction.
“Was this a ruse?” she asked on Feb. 16. “Was this whole thing an effort to take everybody’s attention away from what Hillary Clinton did and what we know to be a complete hoax over this Russia investigation?”
She has since pivoted to blaming Biden for supposedly enabling Russia’s attack.
It appears one source for Bartiromo’s claim could have been Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), The Daily Beast observed. The Trump-allied senator told her on her “Sunday Morning Futures” program that Biden sees Putin as a “partner” on issues like climate change and the Iran nuclear deal, and insisted the threat of nuclear war is “all a bluff.”
Meanwhile, Russian propagandists appear to view Fox News as a partner. Russian state TV has on multiple occasions cited or aired excerpts from host Tucker Carlson’s show. In the days before the invasion, Carlson delivered a lengthy monologue questioning why Americans should dislike Putin and said Ukraine was not a democracy.