A former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union conceded he was a “doofus” for becoming entangled in Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani’s scheme to pressure Ukraine into helping with Trump’s reelection.
But Gordon Sondland hopes history might be kinder to him than that description.
“You had to have been there,” Sondland told The Washington Post in an interview published Friday. “None of us are perfect.”
“My own mistake was probably buying into the whole Giuliani narrative and allowing a nongovernmental actor to interfere in a very ambiguous way with U.S. foreign policy,” he told the Post.
Sondland — the latest official coming out with a book — became entangled in what he would later testify at Trump’s impeachment hearing was a “quid pro quo” pressure scheme by the then-president. A phone call and meeting in Washington with Trump avidly sought by Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy would not be arranged ― nor would weapons approved by Congress be delivered ― until Zelenskyy committed to launching an investigation into Hunter Biden in a scheme to undermine Joe Biden.
Sondland’s frank testimony about the arrangement dealt a blow to Trump at his impeachment hearing.
The hotelier and major Trump contributor (Sondland gave $1 million to Trump’s inaugural committee) was way out of his depth with absolutely no experience in foreign policy when the pressure campaign against Ukraine was rolled out. He was a “poster child of why donor-ambassadors aren’t a great idea,” Max Bergmann, director of the Europe program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told the Post.
“I really regret that the Ukrainians were placed in that predicament,” Sondland testified in 2019, “but I do not regret doing what I could to try to break the logjam and to solve the problem” to bring Ukraine and the U.S. together.
He told the Post that he feared Ukraine was in a vulnerable place, “and now we’re proven correct,” he added.
Check out Sondland’s full interview with the Post here.