“Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd got a lesson in foreign affairs Sunday from former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor, after Todd suggested Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskyy is just as aggravated with president Joe Biden as he is with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
“You have a lot of insight into the Ukrainian government,” Todd began, turning his attention to Taylor. “Zelenskyy, this is one fired-up leader of his country, frustrated. And he seems to be as frustrated with the West as he is with anybody right now.”
“Uh, no Chuck,” Taylor said. “He’s clearly frustrated with Putin. [Zelenskyy’s] got allies. He was there addressing those allies in Munich yesterday — exactly what you say. He’s got complaints about more support, you know, he would like to have, but the real villain of the case — let’s be clear — is sitting in the Kremlin.”
[Watch the interview in its entirety above.]
Todd made his comments as Russia sits poised to invade its neighbor at any moment. The Associated Press reported Sunday that Ukraine is surrounded on three sides by at least 150,000 Russian soldiers, warplanes and equipment.
Just as soon as Todd offered his take on the conflict, the NBC host’s name quickly started to trend on Twitter, with users criticizing everything from what he said to his journalistic choice — whether it be who he has on as guests, his lack of follow-up questions that usually beg to be answered, or his perceived gradual lean to the right of center.
“I love Ambassador Taylor’s quick & tactful shutting down of Chuck Todd’s nonsense,” Colby College political scientist Laura Seay tweeted.
“It is not a both sides issue,” wrote another Twitter user. “Putin is trying to invade Ukraine, and the West is trying to stop him. The issue is about as clear as any in foreign relations can be, but to Chuck Todd, even hostile aggression against Western democracy is an opportunity to blame both sides.”
Another person wrote: “Chuck Todd, the ignorant knob, won’t stop pulling up FOX & GOP talking points to try and muddy the waters about important news so he can try and score cheap ‘points’ in the discussions that follow. Tim Russert is weeping at the massive stupidity Chuck brings to Sunday mornings.”
“Chuck Todd has made a whole career out of playing the Devil’s dumbest advocate,” added The Gilded Edge author, Dr. Catherine Prendergast.
On the flip side, another Twitter user called it like he saw it – and he definitely made a solid point: “Chuck Todd is the Host of Meet the Press b/c Republicans will go on the show with him as the host. If Maddow was the host Republicans wouldn’t come on. NBC doesn’t care if Dems don’t show up and Dems are too dumb to boycott the show.”
Criticism of Todd is nothing new. In February 2020, he came under fire for reading aloud a column that compared supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders to Nazi “brownshirts,” causing #FireChuckTodd to trend on Twitter.
A few days later, Showtime’s “Our Cartoon President” released a short clip lampooning the New Hampshire primary results, taking care to include Todd in the satire. “The results are in from the New Hampshire primary and Bernie Sanders is the winner. I said it. Now you Bernie Bros can stop Photoshopping me in the shower with the Devil,” the animated Todd said.
Then in June 2021, critics really expressed their disdain for what Chuck saw as good old-fashioned bipartisanship by booking election deniers, which, basically, enabled the spread of misinformation.
“Chuck Todd is a dangerous f—ing imbecile,” one Twitter user said.