A product of Harvard, a university that has been especially effective in building global citizens, George Kent, a career official at the State Department, demonstrated during the presidential impeachment inquiry that he understands better than the rest of us what it means to be a citizen of the world. According to UkraNews.com, “Since joining Foreign Service in 1992, he has served on behalf of the U.S. government in Poland, Thailand and Uzbekistan. He … speaks fluently 7 languages. … and is an honorary member of the Red Sox Nation fan club.”
Kent has been married since 1996 to Velida Kitaina, who was born in Uzbekistan but has strong Crimean–Tatar roots. Kitaina’s grandparents were among those who were suddenly deported after Soviet leaders suspected the Crimean Tatars of working with the Nazis. An estimated 200,000 people were forced out. None of them — including, presumably, Kitaina — is especially fond of Russia today.
Today, according to several social media sites, Kitaina’s “passion” is creating gingerbread houses that are replicas of famous Ukrainian architectural sites, including a replica of Kyiv’s St. Michael’s Cathedral, which she presented as a gift to the U.S. embassy in Ukraine. In December 2017, she made a gingerbread replica of the main square in Lviv, the largest city in western Ukraine.
In December 2017, former Ukrainian politician and controversial journalist Serhiy Leshchenko, known by most as the “Ukrainian who sunk Paul Manafort,” posted a photo of himself and George Kent with the Lviv gingerbread village. For the photo, a smiling George Kent traded his bow tie for a red Santa hat.
Unfortunately, the Twitter post revealed that Leshchenko has significantly fewer fans than Kitaina, because several of the comments were less than flattering — one of them called Leshchenko “a goat, a ram and a bitch.” Another suggested that Kitaina build a gingerbread house of Leshchenko’s apartment — alluding to the rumors of alleged bribes that the former People’s Deputy of Ukraine supposedly helped him purchase the place.
In Leshchenko’s Twitter post, George Kent is described as a “good friend of Ukraine.” George Kent is indeed a citizen of the world — one who truly loves Ukraine. According to UkraNews.com, Kent’s Facebook page “has plenty of photos featuring Ukrainian customs, traditions and Ukrainian cuisine. His apartment in Kiev is decorated with traditional Ukrainian embroidered cloths and he shares photos of them with friends. He also posts pictures of his clothes with Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar symbols.”
Indeed, there lies the source of Kent’s problem with President Trump. While Kent seemed to believe that “we’re all Ukrainians now,” after the invasion of Crimea by the Russians, Trump viewed Ukraine as an adversary — not an ally. According to an October 2019 Associated Press article, George Kent told lawmakers in October that Putin had “soured Trump’s attitude toward Ukraine.”
But at the impeachment inquiry on November 13, Kent began blaming Rudy Giuliani for turning Trump away from Ukraine. Kent claimed that “over the course of 2018 and 2019” he became increasingly aware of a “smear campaign” directed by Giuliani against Marie Yovanovitch, then the ambassador to Ukraine. Kent also claimed that “corrupt former prosecutors” in Ukraine peddled “false information” to Giuliani and others to “exact revenge against those who had exposed their misconduct.”
It is clear that George Kent loves everything about Ukraine — including his beautiful wife. And as the global citizen that he is, he wants President Trump to appreciate its rich cultural heritage. Trump may appreciate the culture, but he also knows that our tax dollars have been wasted in the past by corrupt Ukrainian politicians and corporations — including Hunter Biden’s dubious job with Burisma Holdings. Trump suspects that Ukraine had something to do with election tampering in the 2016 elections. But, most importantly, unlike George Kent, President Trump is not a global citizen. Trump got elected because he promised to put America first. His only crime is doing what he promised to do on behalf of the American people.