Former Republican congressman Sean Duffy has come under heavy fire for bringing up the heritage of a National Security Council official who is set to testify before lawmakers.
In an explosive segment on CNN’s “New Day” Tuesday, Duffy – now a contributor on the network – clashed with former Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Charlie Dent on the impeachment inquiry against President Trump and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a military officer and Ukraine expert.
Duffy brought up the Ukrainian American immigrant’s heritage ahead of his testimony behind closed doors with lawmakers on Tuesday – the first White House official to do so who was on the July phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Dent and CNN anchor John Berman slammed Duffy for his remarks about Vindman’s “affinity” for Ukraine as they spoke about the official’s plan to tell lawmakers how he was concerned enough about Trump’s call that he notified his superiors on two occasions, according to a copy of his opening statement obtained by The Hill.
“When I asked you about Colonel Vindman, the very first thing you said was he was Ukrainian,” Berman interjected during the contentious segment.
“Where does the location of his birth matter? Mark Meadows was born in France. Is he pro-French by definition? That’s a pretty stunning comment you made just there,” Berman told Duffy, whose comments came shortly after Fox News host Laura Ingraham and John Yoo spoke on Vindman committing “espionage.”
Buried in NY Times story, Ukraine sought advice from left’s latest ‘bombshell’ witness Lt. Col. Vindman https://t.co/7H3q6qQfQY
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) October 29, 2019
“It seems very clear that he is incredibly concerned about Ukrainian defense,” Duffy replied. “I don’t know that he’s concerned about American policy, but his main mission was to make sure that the Ukraine got those weapons. I understand that. We all have an affinity to our homeland where we came from. Like me, I’m sure that Vindman has the same affinity or like Mark Meadows.”
“Are you suggesting that you would put Irish defense over U.S. Defense? Is that what you’re saying?” Berman asked.
“So are we saying that by giving this money to the Ukraine, that absolutely is the money that’s going to secure American national defense against Russia? I don’t believe that,” Duffy fired back. “And so he’s entitled to his opinion. He has an affinity I think for the Ukraine. He speaks Ukrainian, and he came from the country and he wants to make sure they’re safe and free.”
“Are you saying that Colonel Vindman, a decorated war veteran isn’t looking out for America first?” Berman pressed, noting Vindman is an “active-duty military member” who has been awarded a Purple Heart.
“I think there’s a broader perspective that President Trump has on putting our country and our taxpayers first, and I think in the statement that Vindman had a concern for Ukraine,” Duffy reiterated.
The president also seemed to call Vindman’s credibility into question as he filled his Twitter account Tuesday with tweets and retweets denying any wrongdoing and blasting Democrats for their impeachment frenzy.
Supposedly, according to the Corrupt Media, the Ukraine call “concerned” today’s Never Trumper witness. Was he on the same call that I was? Can’t be possible! Please ask him to read the Transcript of the call. Witch Hunt!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 29, 2019
The president also wondered “How many more Never Trumpers will be allowed to testify,” as well as asking “why so many” people were listening in on the call with Zelensky.
How many more Never Trumpers will be allowed to testify about a perfectly appropriate phone call when all anyone has to do is READ THE TRANSCRIPT! I knew people were listening in on the call (why would I say something inappropriate?), which was fine with me, but why so many?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 29, 2019
Regardless of how media/Dems spin this, Vindman’s primary concern was that Ukraine receive unfettered U.S. aid.
But @realDonaldTrump sets the policy, not an NSC official he’s never met.
Moreover Trump is the only POTUS to ever send lethal aid to Ukraine.
Not once, but 3 times!
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) October 29, 2019
Not one Democrat said a word about @GenFlynn's decades of honorable service, so spare me the pearl clutching when Vindman is criticized.
— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) October 29, 2019
Meanwhile, Duffy’s take on Vindman unleashed the left’s fury as he was torched on social media following his CNN appearance.
This is utterly disgusting.
How DARE these Trumpers question the loyalty of a decorated war hero,
Purple Heart recipient who dedicated his LIFE to serving America in uniform.
Lt. Col. Vindman is the definition of a patriot.
I’m so furious, I’m seeing red.
Disgraceful! ? https://t.co/PqhMjqHDGk
— Tara Setmayer (@TaraSetmayer) October 29, 2019
Beyond disgusting, but… totally predictable that they would try to smear this decorated and respected veteran… https://t.co/x1VuuphuvO
— Charlie Sykes (@SykesCharlie) October 29, 2019
Why the hell did @CNN hire this stooge?
— D. A. Wood (@piedpenguin) October 29, 2019
Take him off the air now @CNN This is unacceptable
— Phillip Burgart (@PhillipBurgart) October 29, 2019
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