Putin interview leaves White House unfazed, asks Americans not to ‘take it at face value’

The White House has brushed off concerns that Tucker Carlson and Russian President Vladimir Putin interview could sway public support for Ukraine. White House national security official John Kirby dismissed worries, asserting that he does not believe a single interview can significantly alter public opinion.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre (L) looks on as US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby speaks during the daily press briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on February 8, 2024. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)(AFP)

Asked a question about the interview ahead of its release Kirby emphasized that the American people are well aware of the circumstances, noting that Ukraine posed no threat when Putin initiated the invasion in February 2022. He condemned Putin for invading a neighboring country without provocation, underscoring that Ukraine is fighting for its cause, seeking assistance but not requesting American boots on the ground.

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“He invaded a neighboring country without provocation,” Kirby said of Putin, saying he thinks the American people “understand what Ukraine’s fighting for and all they’re asking for is our help,” adding they aren’t asking for “American boots on the ground.”

Kirby also asked Americans not to believe what Putin says, ‘Anybody that watches that interview you need to make sure to remember that you are listening to Vladimir Putin. You shouldn’t take at face value anything he has to say.’

Kirby urged viewers of Carlson’s interview to approach Putin’s statements critically and advised against taking them at face value. When asked about the potential impact on lawmakers, Kirby expressed confidence in strong bipartisan support on Capitol Hill for aiding Ukraine. However, he refrained from speculating on the interview’s specific influence.

This marks Putin’s first interview with a Western journalist since the Russian invasion of Ukraine nearly two years ago. Speculation arose earlier in the week when Carlson was spotted in Moscow, leading to confirmation from Carlson that he would indeed be interviewing Putin.

In a two-hour interview with the former Fox News host, coming just ahead of the two-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin said the West should understand it is “impossible” to defeat Russia in Ukraine.

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