Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner tried and failed on Monday to push retired four-star General David Petraeus to criticize the Biden administration’s response to Russia’s unprovoked war on Ukraine, only for Petraeus to repeatedly point out that he is not a partisan pundit.
“I don’t do political support,” he emphasized at one point. “I do analysis of what administrations are doing. In this case, I think they are doing an impressive job.”
Petraeus, the former CIA director whose career was derailed by an extramarital affair, was welcomed Monday onto The Faulkner Focus ostensibly to talk about British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s surprise visit to Kyiv, and the international efforts to assist Ukraine’s fight against Russian forces.
“I think it was wonderful of him to do that. In fact, the U.K. has done very impressively throughout this entire effort,” he noted, adding that the British have imposed the “most sanctions overall” against Russia.
The Fox News anchor soon turned the conversation to President Joe Biden and the criticism he’s received from political rivals for his administration’s handling of the crisis. “President Biden is being criticized for being in a bunker,” she said, referencing comments made by ultra-conservative British politician Nigel Farage.
“Now, maybe Biden doesn’t go to Kyiv but what more can we do?” Faulkner asked.
“Well, gosh, [Biden] just was in Brussels and was in Warsaw and was just outside in other locations,” Petraeus shot back.
“Did that make a difference?” the Fox News host retorted.
“It makes a huge difference,” the decorated ex-military leader replied. “The NATO meeting was called on such short notice for one reason, the U.S. president said he would go to Brussels. All the rest came as well.”
He went on to say that while “no one was more critical of this administration than I was over the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan,” in this instance, “you have to give credit to the administration overall for leading the world in a number of different ways here.” Petraeus further noted that former colleagues of his agree that the U.S. is “working every possible angle” to provide additional military aid to Ukraine.
Committed to making the discussion about domestic partisan politics, Faulkner then brought up a recent poll showing a majority of Americans disapprove of Biden’s handling of the Ukrainian situation.
“I’m a military guy. I don’t do domestic politics. Let me just explain to you what I’m seeing and what my understanding is. Again, I don’t do polls. I’m trying to help you understand what you are seeing,” Petraeus objected.
“I want to show you because there is a disconnect happening and it’s important,” an undeterred Faulkner responded while airing the poll results. “I want you to see it.”
The Fox News anchor then said this was “important” because “there is a disconnect right now,” insisting that she wanted to get into “the nitty-gritty of this” before wondering what are all the options available to the United States when it comes to helping Ukraine.
“So, can I answer?” an irritated Petraeus interjected.
After delivering a detailed response on the issues surrounding providing heavy military equipment to the region, the former CIA chief then addressed some of Faulkner’s questions about the political criticisms pointed at the administration.
“Now you may highlight—rightly—a communications issue. That’s a different issue,” he stated. “What you are asking me is ‘what I think we’re doing.’ It will never be enough. I was never satisfied as a commander in the battlefield, again, under a Republican or Democrat that we had everything we possibly needed.”
A seemingly testy Petraeus continued: “There is a lot going on and I appreciate the opportunity to lay that out for you. I am non-partial. I don’t support or vote or anything else for either party. And that’s how I see that, Harris, and thanks for the opportunity.”
The Fox News anchor, though, wanted to keep the back-and-forth going. Noting that the ex-general doesn’t “want to get into the politics,” she claimed Petraeus was “supporting this current administration” by praising the White House’s response.
“I’m not supporting the current administration,” he pushed back. “I’m saying what they have been doing is impressive. Again, I don’t do political support. I do analysis of what administrations are doing. In this case, I think they are doing an impressive job!”
Petraeus concluded: “Now, should they communicate it better? Yeah, they sure should. And, again, you ought to invite some of them. It would be great if the NATO commander, who happens to be a U.S. four-star [general], could come on and explain what it is that they’re doing for the Ukrainians.”
Faulkner, for her part, still seemed a bit sore about the exchange and took a jab at him in a later segment about the upcoming midterm elections. “Even Gen. Petraeus who doesn’t like to talk politics, or so he told us but he knows we’re going to talk about them, said the messaging is a problem,” she declared.