It’s Day Two of Impeachmentmas and today’s featured witness is Marie Yovanovitch. Yovanovitch, the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, was fired by President Trump in May.
The Washington Post has an article on today’s appearance by Yovanovitch and it is quite the hot take. Yovanovitch, the writer claims, must surely have been ousted from her position because she is a woman. I suppose I should have been prepared for that assertation but I admit, I was taken aback by the sheer idiocy of such a charge. Given the backstory that has been reported on Yovanovitch’s firing, to throw the victim card due to Yovanovitch’s gender looks like a last-minute Hail Mary pass from Democrats disappointed in how this process is going for them.
To state the most basic of premises, an ambassador serves at the pleasure of the president. Any ambassador, any president. Yovanovitch is, so to speak, a 30-year member of the swamp. She is a career employee. In this case, she was a holdover from the Obama administration in Kyiv and was asked to remain in place through 2020 by the Trump administration.
Yovanovitch brought about the spotlight on herself as she, reportedly, began to smack-talk President Trump in private. She allegedly blocked a Ukrainian investigation into the dealings of Hunter Biden. Former Rep. Pete Sessions, Chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee at the time, alerted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of rumblings he was hearing from others. Sessions, you may recall, is referred to in previous testimony as “congressman-1″. He advised Pompeo to relieve her of her duties.
So, if an ambassador serving an administration is not behaving in a professional manner in a trusted position overseas, is it unusual for the president to want to replace that ambassador? No, of course, it is not. She no longer had the confidence of the president. Loyalty is of the utmost importance to President Trump, as we know.
Yovanovitch was appointed to the post by President Barack Obama in 2016 and recalled by Trump in May, a few months ahead of the end of her term, following the complaints by Giuliani and by political allies that she was spreading an anti-Trump message in Ukraine.
“I have received notice of concrete evidence from close companions that Ambassador Yovanovitch has spoken privately and repeatedly about her disdain for the current administration in a way that might call for the expulsion of Ms. Yovanovitch as U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine immediately,” now ex-Rep. Pete Sessions wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in May 2018 in a letter obtained by the Washington Examiner.
For WaPo to now promote the theory that Yovanovitch was fired because she’s a woman and President Trump doesn’t treat women well is ridiculous. Who among us believes that had any male diplomat been behind disparaging remarks against Trump that diplomat would be given a free pass from Trump due to being male? No one does. Trump is an equal opportunity critic of both males and females that cross his path.
It is not surprising to me that when President Trump spoke with President Zelensky on the now-famous July 25 telephone call, he referred to his displeasure with Yovanovitch. Yovanovitch was already gone. Zelensky at some point thanked Trump for the heads-up on her. According to WaPo, though, since Trump referred to her as “the woman”, it’s all about her gender.
“The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news,” Trump told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25.
Trump then made an ominous prediction as he pressured Zelensky for investigations of his political rivals. “She’s going to go through some things,” he said of the ambassador.
As a leading female diplomat, a political target of the president’s allies and a figure at the center of the Ukraine drama, Yovanovitch has crucial knowledge to impart when she testifies at Friday’s impeachment hearing. She also enters the spotlight as the latest woman who has refused to acquiesce to Trump in the face of personal and gender-specific attacks.
The bad Orange Man is inserting gender politics into the Ukraine story, you see. Also noted in the article is the fact that almost all of her questioners during the impeachment inquiry are men. The patriarchy. Three Democrat women and one Republican woman sit on the House Intelligence Committee. WaPo credits Speaker Pelosi – the most powerful woman in Washington, D.C. – for bringing about the hearings and also female voters who are being credited with the Democrat control of the House after the 2018 elections.
To speak of Yovanovitch as though she is untouchable, even after a 30-year career, is absurd. Everyone is accountable, even the president, as we are told over and over again by the Democrats. If true, her behavior of badmouthing the president is not to be overlooked. If, as reported, she wasn’t willing to fully investigate Biden’s alleged corruption, that is also a problem. She denies a “do not prosecute” list though others claim otherwise. Her gender had nothing to do with any of this.
Yovanovitch became emotional during her behind-closed-door testimony to the House Intelligence Committee. She had to take a pause in her answers to collect herself. This is something that Democrats now hope will happen during her televised testimony. She would certainly appear more sympathetic, wouldn’t she? How dare those mean men pick on that poor woman? I’m old enough to remember when Justice Kavanaugh became emotional during his senate confirmation hearing and Democrats mocked him for it.
“Gendered language” is an odd concern that is raised. I think it was included, though, mostly to smack Trump for past remarks.
Jenna Ben-Yehuda, president and chief executive of the Truman National Security Project, said Kent and Taylor represent archetypal senior State Department officials — the “white man in a bow tie,” the “man in his early 70s with a gravelly voice who went to West Point.”
She said she would be watching closely to see how lawmakers and the media respond to Yovanovitch.
“I’m a little worried about that coming in,” Ben-Yehuda said Thursday in a phone interview. “She is very well respected but will not have the same physical presence. . . . I’m hopeful that folks will not take the easy road out and use gendered language in talking about her.”
Trump has often used gender-specific language to attack women he perceives as threatening. Women who criticize him are “nasty.” He called adult-film star Stormy Daniels, who alleged an affair with Trump, “Horseface” last year. After then-Fox News host Megyn Kelly, during a 2015 presidential primary debate, posed a question about his language toward women, he said she had “blood coming out of her wherever.”
The article ends with a standard #MeToo reference.
Ben-Yehuda, who founded the Women’s Foreign Policy Network, said Yovanovitch’s testimony is an “important pin” in the timeline that “started with the Women’s March and continued with the #MeToo movement,” two mass social responses to the Trump era. “Women are on the march and will not be silenced, and I think Masha will provide another important example of courage at this important moment in our history,” she said.
Her gender has nothing to do with where she finds herself today. Her unprofessional behavior is the reason she was relieved of her duties in Ukraine. She blames Rudy Guiliani for her dismissal. WaPo blames her gender. It looks like there is plenty of blame to go around.