Jay Carney deflects question about Russian commentator’s threat to ‘vaporize’ America

During a press briefing yesterday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney brushed off a question from ABC News’ chief White House correspondent Jon Karl about Russian state television anchor Dmitry Kiselyov's comments that "Russia is the only country in the world realistically capable of turning the United States into radioactive ash." On radio this morning, Glenn warned of what this continual flippancy from the Obama Administration could mean for the future of the United States.

“We have to start with a little Jay Carney because he's always good for a laugh. What will Putin do when we don't have this Administration to kick around anymore,” Glenn asked. “Jay Carney was asked by Jon Karl about the state-run Russian TV commentator claiming that Russia could reduce the United States to a pile of radioactive dust. This is not just come crazy commentator. This is a guy who just received an award, a medal from Putin. So this is a guy who, you know, hangs in those circles.”

Below is a transcript of the back and forth between Karl and Carney:

KARL: And let me ask you just something on -- it was on Russian television, state-controlled television, the main state-controlled channel. Dmitry Kiselyov, a prominent Russian television anchor, posed in front of a mushroom cloud and warned that Russia is the only country in the world capable of turning the U.S. into “radioactive dust.” I mention this because this is state-controlled Russian television, which, as we know, doesn’t generally broadcast stuff that is not signed off by the government of Russia. What is your sense when you hear something like that?

CARNEY: I mean, that people say crazy things on TV all the time.

KARL: Yes, but this is Russian state-controlled TV. I take your point entirely, but -- (laughter) -- but this is –

CARNEY: We’re focused on the actions of the Russian government. We’re focused on the support we’re providing to the Ukrainian government. We’re focused on marshalling a strategy with our partners around the world, especially in Europe, for how to deal with this challenge posed by Russia. And we are making sure that Russia is incurring costs for the provocations it has engaged in and the actions that it’s taken. That’s what we’re focused on right now, and those costs are real and they will increase if Russia continues down this path.

Carney seemed to either miss or ignore the crux of Karl’s argument, which is that the comments were made on state-run television (i.e. senior Russian officials or even Putin himself probably had a hand in crafting the report). While Glenn doesn’t believe Russia is literally planning to ‘vaporize’ the U.S., they are definitely sending a message.

“Here's a reporter, an anchor in Russia, who is being paid by Putin and the state-run television… They are sending us a message,” Glenn said. “The guy just got a medal from Putin. This is one of the main guys, this is one of his main mouthpieces. Not saying Putin is going to vaporize the world, but I'm also not saying that Putin isn't crazy enough to do that."

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the focus of concern for the U.S. has shifted to Muslim extremism and the terror threat posed by radicalized groups. Glenn warned, however, the Russians have never shifted their focus away from America, and they may be looking to settle old scores.

“Look, Putin is a survivalist. What got us through the Cold War is, in the end, people want to live... the Cold War was mutually assured destruction. So Putin is not crazy enough to pull the trigger and vaporize us,” Glenn said. “But Putin… has enough knowledge of the geopolitical game of chess to believe… that the American experiment could be over and he could be the guy that helps pull that last string out.”

There is a very good chance the U.S. will re-enter a war with Russia. And there is a very good chance Russia would emerge victorious. If that is in fact the case, however, Glenn maintained that the spirit of the U.S. Constitution must live on. It will be our responsibility to ensure that happens.

“They don't believe that the war between Russia and America is settled… And mark my words, hear me clearly: If the American experiment stumbles… it will be important for us to change our uniforms, just as they did, and keep our Constitution alive in the hearts of our children… That Constitution is what will save the people of the world,” Glenn concluded. “Mr. Putin, it just may be round three when we get back on our feet. You may win this round, as we won the first round. But I am telling you: It is imperative that you know the truth, you know history, and you know the Constitution and why it was written because if the entire world goes to hell, it has to live in our hearts and in the hearts of our children. It must.”

Front page image courtesy of the AP

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