Trump’s attacks on Vladimir Putin and Ukraine have shown rifts in the Republican Party over the degree of U.S. participation in foreign conflicts.
BIDDEN UNVEILS NEW SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA FOR “P
The Republican response, both on the campaign trail and in Congress, shows how deeply affected Trump is, who complimented Vladimir Putin as “smart” when the Russian president acknowledged two Russian separatist-controlled areas in Eastern Ukraine.
“This all happened because of a rigged election,” Trump said Wednesday as Russia invaded fully. At a Mar-a-Lago event Wednesday night,
he praised Putin for “taking over a country for $2 worth of sanctions.” (American Bridge, a national Democratic super PAC, shared the video on Twitter.)
Trump supporters, unlike most Republicans, are more tolerant of Putin’s actions in Ukraine and less concerned about any US military involvement in Europe.
Trump’s media friends have echoed that notion, presenting Washington’s anxiety about Russia as an establishment, even aristocratic, concern.
Republicans have mostly united in opposing Biden’s leadership in Eastern Europe, even without a congressional vote.
The GOP’s own confused foreign policy has several factions battling for electoral capital and core party voters.
The Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual activist gathering in Orlando, Florida, began Thursday. Trump is slated to speak, as well as other GOP figures.
Trump praised Putin as “clever” in a radio interview on Tuesday after the Russian president justified his invasion of Ukraine.
“I said ‘Genius.’ Putin claims a large part of Ukraine. Putin declares it free. That’s fantastic.
So Putin now says a major part of Ukraine is independent. ‘How clever is that?’ And he’ll keep the peace.”
Trump’s remarks recalled his infamous 2018 Helsinki encounter with Putin, in which he trusted Putin’s word above US intelligence agencies.
Trump has repeatedly attacked NATO and allies for not contributing their fair share to collective defense.
Politicians who want to be president now appreciate Trump’s handling of Russia, while others seem to admire Putin.
Last month, Trump’s former secretary of state and CIA director, Mike Pompeo, told Fox News Sunday that Putin is a “very talented statesman.”
He has several gifts. He was a KGB agent. He wields authority well. “We must respect that.”
“Vladimir Putin is the aggressor,” Pompeo tweeted earlier this week. Ukraine’s victims.” Pompeo has said Trump’s approach to Russia was successful in TV interviews and on Twitter.
In our administration, Vladimir Putin was the same. “The only difference is American leadership,” he remarked.
Pompeo slammed Putin in Iowa on Wednesday, hours before the invasion,
calling him “evil” and an autocrat who “wanted to reestablish this vision of larger Russia or the Soviet Union for a long time.”
Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, a likely 2020 presidential candidate, has expressed interest in discussing Russia.
“Vladimir Putin is on the verge of establishing the Russian Empire, if not the Soviet Union,” she tweeted, referring to the Biden government.
Not so long ago, the free world’s leader stopped it. Our weakness under Biden now entices the Russian attack.
The cracks are visible on the campaign trail. For example, Republican contender Jane Timken called for stiffer sanctions in the Ohio primary to replace retiring Senator Rob Portman.
America First, she said, “means peace through power.” “President Trump demonstrated for four years that we can defend our southern border AND fight our enemies.”
J.D. Vance, a rival, made the non-interventionist case, claiming the invasion “has nothing to do with our national security”
and is “distracting our foolish leaders” from securing the border and preventing the flow of Fentanyl that is killing American children. Timken was a “Cheney Republican,” he said.
Timken, who last week ran an ad for Trump, retorted to Vance that Ohio has 80,000 Ukrainian-Americans.
According to Republicans prefer the US to stay out of the dispute and disapprove of his overall approach to Russia.
Republicans on Capitol Hill have pressured Biden to slap harsh punishment.
Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas slammed the administration for delaying sanctions until Russia attacked Ukraine. No time to waste, Cotton tweeted earlier this week.
Senator Mitch McConnell also advocated for more aggressive penalties and a halt to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany.
(The Biden administration sanctioned the pipeline company on Wednesday.)
On Thursday, as the invasion began, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, a key Trump ally, made a statement that didn’t reference either administration.
Invading Ukraine is irresponsible and nasty. “The United States prays for the safety and resolve of the Ukrainian people,” he stated. “Putin must answer for his acts.”
“I believe now is the time to show American power.” Our hasty exit from Afghanistan sent the incorrect message to Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping.
“It looked disorganized and weak,” McConnell said last week to Kentucky business leaders.
“They are pushing the limits everywhere because they perceive American weakness and indecision.”