In a softball interview with his daughter, Jon Huntsman, the U.S. ambassador to Russia, nevertheless managed to signal that he’s only looking to make nice with the Russians and let other people deal with issues around the country’s hacking into our election
Fox & Friends cohost Abby Huntsman put all her skills as a Trump lapdog to work with her father. As Callum Borchers, in The Washington Post noted, the problem was not with the “genuinely sweet” moments that “opened a window to the personal side of a top diplomat’s life of globe-trotting public service,” per se, but the fact that the interview was billed as something more substantive. FoxNews.com titled its video, “Amb. Huntsman reflects on the future of US-Russia relations.”
Well, he did a little of that. But first, we found out that service is “how you’ve raised all of us seven kids,” according to Abby. Even though she seems to have done none, herself. That is, unless you count sycophancy to Donald Trump as “service.”
Nevertheless, despite not asking a single pesky question about Russia’s interference in our election, we were able to glean something about Ambassador Huntsman’s future activities on the eve of his departure to Russia:
ABBY HUNTSMAN: Russia is so politically divisive. How do you rise above that and focus on the issues at hand?
JON HUNTSMAN: You have to understand that there is a political track that people read about in the newspaper on a regular basis that will play out as it will. Then there’s another track that has to do with the bilateral relationship, the country-to-country aspects of the United States and Russia. We’ve been hand-in-hand on the same team in wars before, in history, we found ourselves on the same page of certain issues before but today, the relationship’s at an all-time low. I just have to be very frank about that.
What I love about the president is, he’s a problem solver. The secretary of state is a problem solver. General Mattis, our secretary of defense, is a problem solver. So you’re surrounded by people who understand the realities inherent in a difficult U.S.-Russia relationship.
Abby Huntsman did not press for more details. But later, she asked her father, “What’s going to be your greatest challenge?”
JON HUNTSMAN: Showing that we can achieve results in this relationship that are good for the people of America and good for the people of Russia ‘cause the last thing I want to tell the president or the secretary of state or the secretary of defense in the months and years ahead is we did our very best, sir, but we didn’t get anywhere. I think the taxpayers expect more than that.
In other words, Huntsman’s concern seems to be in repairing the relationship with Russia, not dealing with the very serious issue of its interference in our 2016 presidential election nor its apparent likelihood of continuing to do so in our 2018 midterms.
Of course, any ambassador has to be diplomatic in his approach, especially at the outset of his posting. But there are ways to suggest concerns with a country. The only concern Huntsman indicated was a deteriorating relationship.
Considering that the Trump administration has done next to nothing to prevent future election interference by Russia, this is not a huge surprise. But it would be inexcusable, assuming Huntsman messaging bears out, especially coming from an administration that vows to "put America first."
Watch the softballs below, from the October 6, 2017 Fox & Friends.