NBC political director Chuck Todd said Sunday that President Joe Biden and other NATO allies were making a tactical error in failing to present a united front with Ukraine as the threat of a possible Russian invasion looms.
Todd joined host Willie Geist on NBC’s “Sunday Today” to discuss the ongoing situation in Ukraine and how he expected things to play out in the coming days.
“Not having this united front on Putin is not a good look,” @chucktodd says of the difference in rhetoric between Ukrainian President Zelensky and the Western allies. #SundayTODAY pic.twitter.com/HL1EzEQ0S8
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) January 30, 2022
“What a fascinating dynamic we have here,” Geist said, adding, “On Friday President Biden, as Erin just reported, says we’re sending troops to Eastern Europe to help our allies there in the event of a Russian invasion, to which President Zelensky of Ukraine says, guys in the west, please turn down the rhetoric, you’re causing this panic in our country, you’re causing panic around the world for a war that we don’t think, he says, is going to happen.”
“Where does that leave the President in the United States?” Geist asked, turning to Todd.
“I think it puts the west in a — in an odd spot here,” Todd replied. “I mean, I think if you’re — from Zelensky’s point of view, you sort of understand the situation he’s in. His political situation is not extraordinarily stable, he’s concerned about domestic flight, if you will.”
Todd went on to explain that political unrest could potentially lead to an exodus of wealthy elites — those who had the means to escape ahead of a potentially ugly situation. “The wealthy people just take off,” he said.
“In some ways it’s understandable what Zelensky is saying,” Todd continued. “But it is disconcerting that the western allies and Zelensky aren’t in the same place rhetorically. Not having this united front on Putin is not a good look when we’re supposedly this close to wondering what he’s going to do next.”
“You’d think they would have aligned a little better on their long phone call, more than an hour, between President Biden and Zelensky this week,” Geist agreed.
Reports on that phone call earlier in the week indicated that President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky were at odds over whether or not they believed Russian President Vladimir Putin planned to attack Ukraine in the near future — and since the call, both Biden and Zelensky have disputed the claims made by officials about what was said.
— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) January 28, 2022
The White House has repeatedly said that an attack could be imminent, placing thousands of American troops on alert for a possible deployment to shore up defenses in Eastern Europe — but top Pentagon officials continue to push for a diplomatic resolution, saying that Putin has room to deescalate tensions if he chooses to do so.