Trump says people went easy on Yovanovitch because she's a woman

President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren: Dershowitz presentation 'nonsensical,' 'could not follow it' Bolton told Barr he was concerned Trump did favors for autocrats: report Dershowitz: Bolton allegations would not constitute impeachable offense MORE on Friday ripped former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie YovanovitchMarie YovanovitchTrump lawyers offer defense of Giuliani on the Senate floor Fox News host knocks Pompeo for attack on NPR host: 'Don't be such a baby!' Giuliani: Bolton sacrificing his integrity 'to make a few bucks on a book' MORE, a key witness in the impeachment inquiry, suggesting that people were going easy on her because she's a woman and asserting that she "was not an angel."

"I said, ‘Why are you being so kind?’ ‘Well, sir, she’s a woman. We have to be nice,' " Trump said. "She’s very tough. I heard bad things."

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Trump, in a phone interview on “Fox & Friends,” went on to say Yovanovitch would not put up his portrait in the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine and dismissively described her as "an Obama person."

He questioned why his allies hadn't been tougher on her before, suggesting it was related to her gender.

"This was not an angel, this woman, OK?" Trump said during the interview.

"And there was a lot of things that she did that I didn’t like, and we'll talk about that at some point, but I just want to let you know this was not a baby that we’re dealing with," he added.

Trump has said previously that he does not know Yovanovitch very well.

Yovanovitch testified before the House Intelligence Committee last week in the impeachment inquiry into Trump that is largely centered around his conduct in Ukraine. She described what she called a smear campaign by the president's allies, including his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, to paint her as anti-Trump and get her out of the job.

Multiple other witnesses expressed frustration with the treatment of Yovanovitch, describing her as a State Department employee with a long track record of good work.

The president and his allies have noted that Trump has a right to recall ambassadors.

“I obviously don't dispute that the president has the right to withdraw an ambassador at any time for any reason, but I do wonder why it was necessary to smear my reputation also,” Yovanovitch said during her testimony.