President Trump on Monday praised Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) for his appearance a day earlier on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” where anchor Chuck Todd questioned the senator for pushing the unsubstantiated claim that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election.
“Thank you to Great Republican @SenJohnKennedy for the job he did in representing both the Republican Party and myself against Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd on Meet the Depressed!” Trump tweeted.
The president tweeted his thanks as he flew to London for NATO meetings. He also praised two House Republicans for defending him against the impeachment inquiry in television interviews.
Kennedy has been part of controversial interviews each of the past two Sundays after making claims about Ukraine’s involvement in the 2016 election.
Kennedy last week suggested that there was still a possibility that Ukraine was responsible for the 2016 Democratic National Committee hack. He walked back those comments days later but has continued to insist Ukraine interfered in other ways.
On “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Kennedy asserted that reporting in outlets such as Politico and The Economist indicated that the former Ukrainian president favored Clinton over Trump.
“The fact that Russia was so aggressive does not exclude the fact that President Poroshenko actively worked for Secretary Clinton,” he said.
Todd appeared exasperated with the senator and pushed back on his argument, suggesting Kennedy was furthering a narrative of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Are you at all concerned that you’ve been duped?” Todd asked.
“No, just read the articles,” Kennedy said.
The Intelligence Committee has concluded that Russia, not Ukraine, interfered in the 2016 election and was seeking to aid the Trump campaign. Former special counsel Robert Mueller determined he could not establish that the Trump campaign worked with Russia.
In the aftermath of that investigation, Trump and some of his allies have continued to claim Ukraine meddled in the 2016 race despite the insistence to the contrary of national security officials.