Michael McFaul, who served as the U.S. ambassador to Russia under Barack Obama, inadvertently proved what most Americans already know, that life’s pretty darn good for the political class — but we may not have realized just how good it is for some.
It all began when alleged “Russian trolls” wounded McFaul’s pride in a private channel, according to the former Obama administration official. Set on proving just how successful he is, McFaul would respond by bragging about his “giant house in paradise” and making “close to a million dollars a year.”
The problem is that private channels don’t remain private for long, and the exchange he had with a random critic was picked up by journalist Glenn Greenwald, who then shared it with the great unwashed.
“I have a job for life at the best university in the world. I live in a giant house in paradise. I make close to a million dollars a year,” McFaul replied to the critic. “I have adoring fans on tv and half million followers on twitter, 99% who also admire me. Im doing just fine without a damn visa from Russia. And I am not afraid to tweet under my own name. I feel sorry for people like you who aren’t brave enough to do so.”
Who knew a man with so much going for him could be so easily triggered by a random guy on the internet?
Former Obama Ambassador to Russia, fanatical Russiagater, and current Stanford Professor @McFaul responds to an anonymous critic in DMs by boasting what a lavish and wealthy life he leads and how he has adoring fans around the world: pic.twitter.com/QFduDDgjgJ
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) August 1, 2021
McFaul, the director of Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, was denied a visa by Russia and told he was banned, the Los Angeles Times reported in 2018. The Kremlin suspected him of “illegal activities.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to question McFaul on U.S. soil about the allegation, and while then-President Donald Trump would disagree, McFaul was very critical of the Republican president for not doing so more quickly — according to the media, Trump “entertained” the idea.
“When Trump says Russia is no longer targeting America, that’s not how this American feels,” McFaul tweeted at the time. “Putin is most certainly targeting and intimidating me. And I’m an American.”
In not denouncing the idea outright, he added, it “creates moral equivalency between a legitimacy US indictment of Russian intelligence officers and a crazy, completely fabricated story invented by Putin.”
McFaul took to Twitter after his boast went public and offered an apology.
“I wrote that message in a private channel. I did not expect it to be published. But it was still a mistake. I apologize. It was arrogant and idiotic,” he tweeted. “A swarm of Russian trolls was accusing me of failure, and I responded in a most unprofessional way. Explanation, not excuse.”
I wrote that message in a private channel. I did not expect it to be published. But it was still a mistake. I apologize. It was arrogant and idiotic. A swarm of Russian trolls was accusing me of failure, and I responded in a most unprofessional way. Explanation, not excuse. https://t.co/OGxdGrcaed
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) August 1, 2021
Oh, and McFaul added, “And I will never respond to anonymous people again in DM. Lesson learned.”
As Greenwald alluded, McFaul was all in on the Russian collusion hoax, as seen in a June 2020 editorial praising a Senate Intelligence Committee report on the matter.
“Far from a hoax, as the president so often claimed, the report reveals how the Trump campaign willingly engaged with Russian operatives implementing the influence effort,” he wrote in the op-ed published by NBC News.
So, the ultimate moral to this story may be don’t feed the trolls? Here’s a sampling of responses from Twitter:
This is a really valuable lesson to learn on Twitter regardless of how you got there. It’s a good one to learn even for those of us who aren’t dealing with being high profile. https://t.co/f4tqZcdMfg
— Ｔｈｏｍａｓ Ｆｏｒｎａｓｈ (@Tom4nash) August 1, 2021
Don’t we all get to have a moment or three like this in life and still be okay?…and you even did it without having to mention your evil plan to take over the world… https://t.co/b0H52O77oB pic.twitter.com/bO8M1u6vxo
— Robert Silvas (@dedwts5) August 1, 2021
Keeping your mouth shut is the most effective way to hide you are an idiot. https://t.co/4cTLd2AYA2
— Aleksei � Matiushkin (@mudasobwa) August 2, 2021
So it’s not that you’re an elitist McCarthyist asshole that is a life lesson, it’s that you’re just too dumb to know not to put proof of it in writing because you got triggered to the point of melting like a tender snowflake? Cool story, head of a penis… https://t.co/1T7jhtU1Xm
— LeftyChefy (@DanDi46392347) August 1, 2021
He learned nothing. https://t.co/dC3BAJhHYY
— Support Your Local Dragon (@Andiiterrapin) August 2, 2021
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