WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's latest reasons for firing Marie Yovanovitch as ambassador to Ukraine: She was an "Obama person" who refused to hang Trump's portrait in the U.S. Embassy. That's false on both counts.
Trump's pique about not having his picture displayed in a timely way — actually the fault of his administration, not the ambassador — came during a week of unfounded and distorted statements by the president about the impeachment inquiry and the political favor he sought from Ukraine.
Here is a look at recent claims, and from Democratic presidential contenders in their latest debate:
TRUMP: "This ambassador that everybody says is so wonderful, she wouldn't hang my picture in the embassy. OK? She's in charge of the embassy. She wouldn't hang it. It took like a year and a half or two years for her to get the picture up." — Fox News interview Friday
THE FACTS: She's not the reason why Trump's photo wasn't displayed in the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine after his inauguration. Trump's official portrait for display in federal facilities was not released by the White House until October 2017. Portraits for U.S. embassies came months after that.
Lewis Lukens, former deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in London, tweeted Friday: "I was in charge of the U.S. embassy in London for much of Trump's first year. We didn't hang his picture either. Why? It took the WH almost 15 months to get official photos sent to embassies to hang. And we were instructed not to print other photos."
The former ambassador to Georgia, Ian Kelly, tweeted: "Our official White House portraits did not arrive at Embassy Tbilisi until March 2018. This was because the WH was late getting them to all embassies."
Yovanovitch's attorney, Larry Robbins, told The Associated Press that the embassy in Kiev hung Trump's official portrait, along with Vice President Mike Pence's and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's, "as soon as they arrived from Washington, D.C."
Trump also accused Yovanovitch of leaving countries in disarray "everywhere" she went as a diplomat, wholly misrepresenting her record.
In any event, a president doesn't need to give a reason for firing an ambassador.
TRUMP: "This was an Obama person." — Fox interview
THE FACTS: No, she is a nonpartisan civil servant who served under Republican and Democratic administrations as a 33-year State Department employee.
She was first appointed as an ambassador to Kyrgyzstan and then Armenia by Republican President George W. Bush. She was named to the Ukraine ambassadorship by Democratic President Barack Obama in 2016. Trump fired her from that post in May.
TRUMP: "Why isn't Germany, France, the European Union, why aren't all those countries in Europe, why aren't they paying? Why is it always the United States the sucker? I got elected on that." — Fox interview Friday
THE FACTS: That’s incorrect. European Union institutions have provided far more development assistance than the $204 million from Washington. Specific EU members, Japan and Canada also contribute significantly.
Since 2014, the EU and European financial institutions have mobilized more than $16 billion to help Ukraine's economy, counter corruption, build institutions and strengthen its sovereignty against further incursions by Russia after its annexation of Crimea.