04:08 GMT +313 December 2019
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    U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul

    McFaul Fail: Former US Ambassador to Russia Can’t Wrap Head Around Trump Victory

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    Donald Trump’s stunning upset in the US elections Tuesday night has prompted an almost endless source of telling reactions from people from all walks of life and corners of the globe. Former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul is just one of them.

    McFaul, who resigned from that post in 2014, was active on Twitter on election night.

    "If Trumps wins, I will be first to congratulate him," he tweeted, presumably sarcastically, moments before the vote count was in.

    After Trump was announced the president-elect, McFaul did congratulate the mogul-turned-reality-TV-star-turned-US-president.

    "I am in shock, but the American people have spoken," was McFaul's next tweet. Apparently, that shock is what prompted what came next.

    At first, McFaul seemed coherent, even posting some ideas on foreign policy.

    "Biggest loser in the world tonight-Ukraine," he observed. "Your only hope is to get really serious about reform and keep Euros supportive."

    It's hard to argue with that, given that US Vice President Joseph Biden, known for his close contact with Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko, is on his way out, no doubt along with other Obama Administration officials behind that country's coup. Perhaps concrete predictions are unwise at this juncture, but Trump said enough during his campaign to suggest that the US is likely to reduce its intervention in other states' internal affairs.

    Then, things got weird.

    Two hours after the vote count was over, McFaul congratulated Russian President Vladimir Putin, politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Russia Today's editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan, Sputnik International (thanks, Ambassador!) and activist Mariya Katasonova, with the Trump victory. Why exactly he picked that particular cast of characters is not known, though in his acceptance speech, Trump did set something of a peacemaking tone.

    "We will seek common ground," he said, "not hostility. Partnership, not conflict."

    Putin has expressed a willingness to work together to improve bilateral relations with Washington, and perhaps Trump's victory does indicate international tensions, perpetually tightened over the course of Obama's presidency, may loosen.

    As for Sputnik? We're flattered, but we think your congrats are misplaced.

    Dear Ambassador McFaul, Sputnik News Agency did not work on behalf of Donald Trump's victory, so, while we appreciate the credit, we certainly don't deserve anything of the sort. With the US' mainstream media praising ad nauseum Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, and lulling the American public into a false sense of security in a Clinton win, we were only doing our jobs: telling the untold. And thanks to the selective approach taken by many of our colleagues in the States, we are never very short of things to tell.

    Evidently, however, McFaul meant to lump Sputnik into Russia's alleged meddling in the US presidential election:

    "Putin intervened in our elections and succeeded. [Good job]," the former envoy tweeted, then deleted — but not before a number of people responded:

    "Doctor, you're flattering me," was Simonyan's reply.

    Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Mariya Zakharova post was more thorough in her response, on Facebook:

    "First, the Obama Administration appointed these ‘McFauls' to positions of responsibility, and entrusted to them the management of not only their own country, but many vassal states, and when the situation came to stalemate, it started shouting that Moscow is to blame for everything."

    After McFaul deleted his post, he claimed that he had heard "better arguments," and that "facts and logic matter to him."

    After a massive campaign to blame Russia, without evidence, of interfering in the race, we're not so sure about those facts and logic to which you refer, Mr. Ambassador.


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    2016 presidential election, Twitter, Maria Zakharova, Vladimir Putin, Margarita Simonyan, Donald Trump, Michael McFaul, United States, Russia
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