Vladimir Putin was “channeling his inner Trump” when he staged a huge rally in Moscow to trumpet his invasion of Ukraine, Sean Hannity said on Friday.
On a day when the Russian foreign minister praised Fox News for “trying to present some alternative point of view”, and amid controversy over Fox News hosts and guests repeating Russian disinformation, Hannity also mocked Joe Biden and read out a Kremlin statement attacking the US president.
First, on his radio show, Hannity said: “It looks like Vladimir Putin is channeling his inner Donald Trump. He had a what looked like, it almost looked like the big house in Michigan – their football stadium I think holds 110,000 people.”
The Putin rally was staged in the Luzhniki Stadium, which holds 81,000 and which hosted the 2018 World Cup final.
As the Guardian reported, Putin spoke from a stage featuring slogans such as “For a world without Nazism” and “For our president”, and told “a large flag-waving crowd” Russia “hasn’t seen unity like this in a long time”.
Trump has repeatedly praised Putin for being “smart” regarding Ukraine, though he has also condemned the invasion.
Hannity is an ardent supporter of the former president with close knowledge of Trump’s rallies, having appeared at one in Missouri in 2018. That earned him a reprimand from his employer, as did his endorsement of Trump in a campaign video in 2016. In the 2020 campaign, Hannity reportedly wrote Trump a campaign ad.
On his primetime show on Fox News on Friday night, Hannity said the Moscow rally was Putin’s “best attempt to look like Donald Trump”.
He also called Putin a “murderous thug” whose invasion of Ukraine, he said, was turning out to be a “humiliating disaster.”
But he also attacked Biden.
Referring to technical problems at the Moscow rally, Hannity said: “Vladimir Putin can’t get through speech without screwing that up – kind of like Joe Biden.
“Anyway, according to reports, the stadium was filled with thousands of government workers who were required to attend. Unlike a Trump rally, anyone in Russia voices opposition to Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine they are thrown in jail.
“Vladimir Putin is not in a good place. And right now the world is facing an extremely dangerous and critical tipping point. And what happens in Russia and Ukraine will have reverberations all over the world. But guess what? Our fearless leader Joe Biden, he’s taken another weekend and Delaware ice cream, a lot of nap time.”
Figures including the Utah senator and former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney have strongly criticized the airing on Fox News of Russian talking points and outright conspiracy theories.
On his show on Friday night, Hannity read a statement which was issued by Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, after Biden called Putin a war criminal.
“Given such irritability from Mr Biden,” Hannity read, “his fatigue and sometimes forgetfulness … fatigue that leads to aggressive statements, we will not make harsh assessments, so as not to cause more aggression.”
Earlier this week, Hannity came under fire for saying Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the president of Ukraine, was “begging Joe Biden for help” but the US president was too “weak” and “frail” to properly come to his aid.
Hannity did not mention that Trump was impeached for withholding military aid to Ukraine, in an attempt to extract dirt on opponents including Biden.