Throughout his time in the White House, former President Donald Trump praised Russian leader Vladimir Putin, and even publicly took Putin's word over the evaluation of U.S. intelligence officials on whether Russia interfered on Trump's behalf in the 2016 election.
It's long been confirmed that Putin did launch a broad initiative to influence the results of the 2016 election and, more recently, did the same in 2020.
With Putin's latest poisoning of his political opposition, President Joe Biden said in a recent television interview that the Russian President is a "killer." The harsh words enraged Russia and Putin challenged Biden to a live debate.
"I want to propose to President Biden to continue our discussion, but on the condition that we do it basically live, as it's called. Without any delays and directly in an open, direct discussion. It seems to me that would be interesting for the people of Russia and for the people of the United States."
President Biden is unlikely to consider a live debate with a known enemy of the United States, despite his predecessor's praise of authoritarian regimes.
Far-right Fox News host Sean Hannity said Putin came out on top in the exchange, and apparently believed that Putin's ideas would best Biden's in a debate.
Sean Hannity: Putin openly mocking Biden with 'humiliating' 'debate' challenge youtu.be
Hannity pushed further speculation on Biden's mental faculties:
"Why would Vladimir Putin immediately call for a debate with Joe Biden with no time to prepare? What have I been saying? ... When you compare Joe Biden to 2012 and even 2016, Joe Biden looks extremely weak, frail, often confused, and, yes, he is struggling cognitively. It is obvious. This is not brain surgery."
While he qualified that Russia was part of a group of "evil actors" and "hostile regimes," he went on to frame Biden's likely refusal to stoke international tensions with a televised debate as a loss.
It was clear who Fox was siding with.
Does Sean Hannity know that Putin has never debated anybody because he is a dictator? Why does Hannity support a f… https://t.co/1MNeddVgzj— Anders Åslund (@Anders Åslund) 1616164085.0
What does Fox has to say about Putin’s despicable treatment of @navalny? Why won’t Putin debate @navalny instead of… https://t.co/sMxFZxkgLz— David Corn (@David Corn) 1616162574.0
the conservative definition of "patriotism" has become so abstracted that they're basically just rooting for other… https://t.co/4ngbe6nkWg— Law Boy, Esq. (@Law Boy, Esq.) 1616166063.0
This is @SeanHannity doing Putin’s work. First, he attacks our duly elected President, openly showing his contempt… https://t.co/emJJvrgvl9— Pam Keith, Esq. (@Pam Keith, Esq.) 1616169432.0
It was always headed this way. Those of us who have been paying attention for 5+ years have been telling anyone who… https://t.co/stVM9G1Ugx— Ryan (@Ryan) 1616171344.0
Listening to Fox News call anyone else the media mob is hysterical https://t.co/k028x00I9e— Y'ALL (@Y'ALL) 1616171035.0
Many hadn't forgotten Trump's subservience to Putin.
Not real interested in anyone telling me Biden is a chicken for refusing to talk to Putin. I just spent four years… https://t.co/EyVwd4cwEE— Brian J. Karem (@Brian J. Karem) 1616164709.0
Well of course Putin never challenged Trump to a debate. They shared too many of the same writers.— David Frum (@David Frum) 1616120523.0
Putin clearly misses Trump, because his proposal for a live debate with @POTUS is absurd on its face and is never h… https://t.co/xOmP8zgnza— Daniel Goldman (@Daniel Goldman) 1616102681.0
Fox continues to favorably cover Putin to parrot conservative talking points regarding Biden.