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.
If Trumps wins, I will be first to congratulate him.— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) November 9, 2016
After Trump was announced the president-elect, McFaul did congratulate the mogul-turned-reality-TV-star-turned-US-president.
Congratulations President-elect Trump.— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) November 9, 2016
"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. Your only hope is to get really serious about reform and keep Euros supportive.— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) November 9, 2016
"Biggest loser in the world tonight-Ukraine," he observed. "Your only hope is to get really serious about reform and keep Euros supportive."
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.
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.