MAGA Voters Echo Trump’s Rhetoric, “Zelenskyy Is The Problem” and “Russian Not Our Enemy” 

NBC correspondent Vaughn Hillyard talked to Trump voters, who appeared to have accepted the narrative that Russia’s invasion was justified, claiming “Putin is not the problem” while Zelenskyy is. 

What did Trump voters say?

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Hillyard asked one woman what she would think if Russia took over Ukraine. She said, “I don’t have a problem with Russia. I have a problem with Ukraine; they are corrupt,” The woman continued by saying that people are “ridiculous” for believing that Putin was the enemy, adding, “He isn’t doing anything; he just wants back what was his.”

The reporter pressed 

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Hillyard reminded the woman that Putin invaded Ukraine and killed thousands, to which she said, “That’s fine.” Then he turned to a veteran and asked him about the Russian aggression. The veteran told him, “I don’t think Putin’s the problem, I think Zelenskyy is the problem.” He added that Putin is trying to “save his country from the likes of idiots” like the President of Ukraine and “the elitists.” 

Blaming Biden 

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Another man shared that the Biden administration was trying to start a war with Russia. The man continued, “Russia’s not our enemy.” The reporter joined the host in the studio later.

“It’s chilling”

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MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace commented on the clip showing MAGA voters defending Putin and his invasion of Ukraine, and with a sigh, said, “It’s chilling.” She then stated that it fits perfectly and “alarmingly” with the network’s new series, “American Autocracy, It Could Happen Here.” 

How is it tied to not providing funding to Ukraine? 

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Hillyard explained how Trump suggested he would end the war without ever condemning Putin and mentioned that he would allow Russia to do “whatever they want” just days ago, adding, “Those words have an impact on these communities around the country.” It raises the questions of democracies and whether the US will defend allies and democratic countries “against the autocrats like Putin.” 

How deep is affection for Putin?

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Wallace asked whether the affection for Putin was shallow, and Hillyard believes it is “largely very shallow.” The reporter mentioned Tucker Carlson’s interview with Putin and that he heard from many that they became “more sympathetic toward Putin after listening to it.” Hillyard reminded viewers that Donald Trump Jr. wished Carlson was his father’s VP. 

The valid voice 


Hillyard pointed out that Trump said Carolson was the “valid voice.” When that voice goes to Russia and talks to the Russian president, “You have legitimacy in these folks’ minds to go back to their communities, talk to their family members, go to their churches, go to their kids’ schools, and echo Russian propaganda.” 

Back to Trump’s rally 

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Asked if she was concerned about Russia’s aggression, a woman said “no” and added, “Because I watch Tucker Carlson’s interview.” After watching the same interview, the woman said she does not think Russia has ill intentions toward the US. 

The separate reality 

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Back in the studio, Hillyard shared how his producer Dan went to Ukraine and saw the war live, with the reporter saying, “The hardest part for him is just how separate of a reality that he witnessed with his own eyes, civilians death” and “someone comes with such confidence” and declares, “Vladimir Putin is not an enemy.” 

“Pro-Putin, pro-Russia, pro-tyranny”

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Paul Ryan, a Republican and former House Speaker, told the Washington Post in an interview, “What I very much worry about is [that Trump and his followers] are helping curate a line of thought, a school of thought [inside the GOP] that is isolationist, that is pro-Putin, pro-Russia, pro-tyranny at the end of the day.” 

Trump’s recent remarks 


During a South Carolina rally, Trump talked about NATO and stated, “They said, ‘Well, if we don’t pay, are you still going to protect us?’ I said, ‘Absolutely not.’ They couldn’t believe the answer.”  He continued talking about a hypothetical Russian attack on a NATO country, “No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You got to pay. You got to pay your bills.” 

Zelenskyy spoke about Trump’s remarks 

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The Ukrainian president spoke to Kaitlan Collins in Kyiv and told the CNN reporter, “I think Donald Trump doesn’t know Putin,” adding, “I know he met him… but he never fought with Putin. (The) American army never fought with the army of Russia. Never… I have a better understanding.” Zelenskyy continued, “I don’t think he understands that Putin will never stop.” 

Watch MSNBC’s report on YouTube

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