September 21, 2019


Behind the Whistle-Blower Case, a Long-Held Trump Grudge Toward Ukraine (Kenneth P. Vogel, Sept. 20, 2019, NY Times)

The situation has also highlighted Mr. Trump's grudge against Ukraine, a close ally that has long enjoyed bipartisan support as it seeks to build a stable democracy and hold off aggression from its hostile neighbor to the east, Russia.

Mr. Trump has often struck a less-than-condemnatory tone toward Russian aggression, including its interference on his behalf in the 2016 presidential election, and its 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, which Mr. Trump said last month should no longer prevent Russia from rejoining the Group of 7 industrialized nations.

Only after Congress put intense bipartisan pressure on the administration did he release the military assistance package to Ukraine last week.

After delays in scheduling a White House meeting for Mr. Zelensky, and the cancellation of a trip by Mr. Trump to Europe during which the two would have met in person for the first time, a meeting was finally added to Mr. Trump's calendar for Wednesday in New York, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

Privately, Mr. Trump has had harsh words about Ukraine, a former Soviet state. He has been dismissive of his own administration's recommendations that he throw the full support of the United States government to Mr. Zelensky, a former comedian and political neophyte who is seen in the West as a reformer elected with a mandate to stop both Russian aggression and the political corruption that has long plagued the country.

In May, a delegation of United States officials returned from Mr. Zelensky's inauguration praising the new president and urging Mr. Trump to meet with him, arguing that Mr. Zelensky faced enormous headwinds and needed American support. The future of Ukraine, they said during an Oval Office meeting with Mr. Trump, would be decided in the next six months.

Mr. Trump was not sympathetic. "They're terrible people," he said of Ukrainian politicians, according to people familiar with the meeting.

Posted by at September 21, 2019 8:32 AM