BY ZOE STROZEWSKI ON 4/26/22
Kinzinger was responding to a video in which Paul told U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken that it could be argued that the countries Russia has attacked in recent years, such as Ukraine and Georgia, were part of Russia. Paul then corrected himself to say that they were part of the Soviet Union.
Kinzinger said Paul “truly is ridiculous” before suggesting that he “bro out” with Carlson. The Illinois lawmaker has criticized Carlson several times since the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict for allegedly taking Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “side.”
Kinzinger, a Republican who has broken with members of his party on several issues, has been outspoken in his condemnation of Russia’s attack on Ukraine. He has also not refrained from criticizing figures who he believes have attempted to justify Russia’s actions or sympathized with Putin.
Carlson is among the figures Kinzinger has railed against in the months since the war began. Russian state television and government agencies have used clips and statements from Carlson’s Fox Newsshow, Tucker Carlson Tonight, in recent weeks as propaganda, Newsweek previously reported.
Earlier this month, Kinzinger said that he wants Carlson to “answer” for his alleged “support” of Russia’s invasion after new evidence of mass graves in Ukraine and other “atrocities” emerged. He took aim again at Carlson last week after former commentator Malcolm Nance announced that he had joined Ukraine’s foreign legion to fight against Russian troops. Kinzinger praised Nance for joining the fight and added that Carlson “shills” for Putin.
Kinzinger seemingly lumped Paul in with Carlson in his tweet Tuesday following the senator’s remarks. At a hearing, Paul accused the Biden administration of pushing Putin into his attack against Ukraine, a former member of the Soviet Union, by pushing for its admission into NATO, Newsweek reported. Before Putin invaded, he had warned against any NATO expansion.
After Blinken noted that the countries Russia has attacked in recent years weren’t NATO members, Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, said those countries were part of the Soviet Union. Blinken pushed back on that explanation, saying he “firmly disagrees with that proposition.”
BLINKEN: If you look at the countries Russia attacked, these were countries that were not part of NATO
RAND PAUL: You could also argue the countries they’ve attacked were part of Russia
BLINKEN: I firmly disagree. It’s the right of these countries to decide their future pic.twitter.com/4ZeZOVrK0i— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 26, 2022
“It is the fundamental right of these countries to decide their own future and their own destiny,” he said.
When Paul reiterated that Georgia and Ukraine were part of the Soviet Union, Blinken responded that that fact “does not give Russia the right to attack them.”
The video ended after Paul fired back that he wasn’t saying their previous USSR membership gave Russia the right to attack.
Newsweek reached out to Kinzinger, Paul and Fox News for comment.
Update 4/26/22, 5:36 p.m. ET: This story was updated with additional information and background.