National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan didn’t mince words when he was asked about Mike Pompeo’s criticism of Joe Biden’s summit with Vladimir Putin: “[I]t's pretty extraordinary to hear Donald Trump's secretary of state talking about weakness in the face of Vladimir Putin when we all saw what happened in Helsinki.”
Last week, I was critical of Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace for not pushing back on Pompeo’s ridiculous claim, “there was no administration that was tougher on Russia,” as part of a suggestion that Biden was weakening the U.S. against Russia in the wake of Trump’s toughness.
This week, Wallace opened the door for Sullivan to respond – and he seized the opportunity.
WALLACE: The pushback from Republicans is that Joe Biden displayed weakness in his summit with Vladimir Putin. They talk about waiving the sanctions on the Nord Stream Pipeline, allowing it to be completed. They talk about freezing, whether it was a contingency or whatever, $100 million aid package for Ukraine that had been ready to go and that the NSC froze. And then there's also the criticism that Joe Biden keeps talking about Vladimir Putin and his standing in the world when they say, the GOP does, Vladimir Putin doesn't care about his standing in the world.
Here is former Trump Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: They see American weakness, a president who -- who -- who blanches at even the ability to put pressure on Vladimir Putin in a private meeting. Right, Putin said himself, he didn't feel any pressure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: In the summit, just to take one quick example, President Biden said here are 16 areas of critical infrastructure I don't want you to attack, which seems to -- seemed to imply, well, if you attack the 17th area of critical infrastructure, that's OK.
Why didn't Biden say to Putin, look, no more cyberattacks period or you're going to face the consequences?
SULLIVAN: So, first of all, it's pretty extraordinary to hear Donald Trump's secretary of state talking about weakness in the face of Vladimir Putin when we all saw what happened in Helsinki. And the summit in Geneva was a study in contrast to what happened in Helsinki.
Privately in the room, President Biden communicated to President Putin that there would be costs and consequences if harmful activities against the United States continued. Publicly, in his press conference, he not only spoke out about that quite directly, mincing no words, but he also spoke about American values, something the last president never talked about.
He spoke about Alexey Navalny. He spoke about Radio Free Europe. He spoke about standing up for our democratic allies and partners. And one week before the summit, one week, he sent $150 million security assistance to Ukraine.
He pulled no punches. He did nothing but stand up for American interests and values in an emphatic and sound way.
And I would also add, Chris, that he entered and exited this summit in Geneva as the leader of the free world, a mantle that Donald Trump had given away and that Joe Biden reclaimed on behalf of this country. Flanked by allies, supported by democratic partners, and then willing to push back hard on Vladimir Putin, which he did in the meeting, while also saying that there are areas where the United States and Russia must work together for the benefit of our two people.
That is practical. That is clear eyed. That is principled. That is Joe Biden's foreign policy.
Wallace changed the subject to China.
You can watch it below, from the June 20, 2021 Fox News Sunday.