‘I gave them to all visitors, including our congresspeople,’ Marie Yovanovitch says
“This is a made in Ukraine bracelet,” Ms Yovanovitch told Mr Colbert, adding that she “bulk-ordered them” in 2017.
“I gave them to all visitors, including our congresspeople,” she said.
Ms Yovanovitch was removed from her post in 2019 after heavy criticism from then-President Donald Trump.
She was the victim of a smear campaign by Trump allies during his first impeachment, prompted by Mr Trump trying to use the withholding of military aid to get Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden’s son. Mr Biden was then a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Ms Yovanovitch said Mr Trump’s actions showed Russian President Vladimir Putin and other authoritarian leaders that he was “ready to use our national security for his own personal and political gain”.
“I think that really undermined our national security and our abilities to move forward when people could see the president of the United States was ready to not be acting in the interests of the nation, but in his own personal interests,” Ms Yovanovitch added.
“When people ask me, ‘how is it that the Ukrainian people are resisting [the Russian invasion] like this?’ I remind them about Taras Shevchenko who was the poet laureate in the 1800s and continues to be the country’s favourite poet,” she said. “His most famous line is ‘fight on and you will prevail’ and that’s what Ukrainian children are brought up on.”
Ms Yovanovitch met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky when he was a prospective candidate for the post. “I was expecting a funny guy to walk into the room because he was a comedian. And he was very funny, but the point he wanted to make with me was that he was a businessman,” she said. “He had established a media conglomerate, multimillion-dollar enterprise, all based on his own talent and hard work and he had executive skills.”
“Soon thereafter he announced his candidacy for the presidency and it was clear that the Ukrainian people were looking for something different. They wanted to keep on going in their democracy,” Ms Yovanovitch added.
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