President Donald Trump on Friday defended his decision to fire former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, saying that she had “turned bad.”
“Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “She started off in Somalia, how did that go?”
Yovanovitch’s first tour was in Mogadishu, Somalia and was installed in Ukraine during the Obama administration. Trump recalled her in May 2019.
The president recalled his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky where President Trump described Yovanovitch as “bad news.”
During her testimony from the House Intelligence Committee, Yovanovitch said she felt “threatened” by the president’s comments in that phone call, and was shocked that a U.S. President would undercut her personally in a phone call with a foreign leader.
But Trump reminded Americans that Zelensky agreed with his assessment, citing concerns she favored the previous president of Ukraine.
“[T]he new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him,” Trump added on Twitter.
President Trump repeated he had the right to call her back to the United States.
“It is a U.S. President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors. They call it ‘serving at the pleasure of the President,’” he said.
Trump defended his renewed foreign policy in Ukraine without Yovanovitch, saying it was much tougher than under former President Barack Obama.
“The U.S. now has a very strong and powerful foreign policy, much different than proceeding administrations,” he wrote. “It is called, quite simply, America First!”