Feb 9, 2023, 11:59 PM
- Eleven House Republicans have backed a measure calling for an immediate halt of US aid to Ukraine.
- The measure is backed by Reps. Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert, and Marjorie Taylor Greene.
- A recent poll found nearly two-thirds of American support continued aid to Ukraine.
A group of House Republicans is calling for an immediate halt of US aid in Ukraine, arguing that such support for the country’s defense in the face of Russia’s invasion is “inadvertently contributing to civilian casualties.”
A non-binding resolution introduced Thursday would, if passed, express the sense of Congress that the US “must end its military and financial aid to Ukraine.” It further “urges all combatants to reach a peace agreement.”
The measure’s 11 backers include some of Congress’ most vocal and far-right supporters of former President Donald Trump, including Reps. Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Paul Gosar of Arizona. Although the group represents a minority opinion within Congress, and even within the GOP, its members could jeopardizefuture aid packages in the House, where any lawmaker can force a vote to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
The introduction of the measure comes as Moscow is launching a new offensive in eastern Ukraine, committing “at least three major Russian divisions,” according to a new assessment by researchers with the Institute for the Study of War.
A recent Gallup poll found that nearly two-thirds of Americans believe the US should continue to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia, even if that means prolonging the conflict. However, that support is weakest among Republicans, 41% of whom stated they support ending the conflict “quickly,” even if that means territorial gains for Russia.
Justifying the measure, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida distorted a quote from President Joe Biden. According to Gaetz, “Biden must have forgotten his prediction from March 2022, suggesting that arming Ukraine with military equipment will escalate the conflict to ‘World War III.'”
Trump made that claim earlier this month but Biden made no such warning.
Speaking in Philadelphia, Biden in fact defended his policy of arming Ukraine. “We’re going to make sure Ukraine has the weapons to defend themselves from the invading Russian forces,” he said. In his remarks, the president thrice mentioned World War III,” each time in the context of noting that direct US or NATO intervention would trigger it. “We will not fight the third World War in Ukraine,” he said.
Asked for clarification on the congressman’s remarks, Joel Valdez, a spokesperson for Gaetz, provided a truncated quote from Biden that omitted key context. “Biden in March 2022 said: “…the idea that we’re going to send in offensive equipment and have planes and tanks and trains…that’s called ‘World War Three,'” Valdez responded in an email, emphasizing the world “tanks.”
The missing part of the quote makes clear that Biden’s warning was not about the threat posed by sending weapons to Ukraine — the US announced its sending tanks last month, stepping up its aid to Ukraine — but about “planes and tanks and trains going in with American pilots and American crews.”
Opposition to US aid for Ukraine on the right has been increasingly vocal in recent months, led by Trump, who has repeatedly asserted that he would be able to end the conflict through negotiations. “Get this cray war ended, NOW. So easy to do,” he posted on Truth Social last month.
In 2019, Trump withheld US military aid to Ukraine, pressuring President Volodymyr Zelenskky in a phone call to open an investigation into the Biden family and asking him to look into a conspiracy theory that it was Ukrainians, not the Russian government, that hacked and stole emails from the Democratic National Committee. That incident led to Trump’s second impeachment and, on the right, sowed distrust of Ukraine and its link to the Democrats.
Ironically, Biden’s refusal to commit US forces to a war with Russia was previously the subject of criticism for at least one Republican who is now calling for an end to US support for Ukraine altogether.
“It’s no surprise to anyone that Putin invaded Ukraine,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene wrote on Twitter last February on the day of the large-scale invasion. “Biden gave him the green light by saying the US is not going to war with Russia and will remain united with and only defend its NATO member nation allies. Ukraine was not allowed to join NATO.”
One month before the invasion, by contrast, Greene had called for Biden’s impeachment, citing his “threatening war with nuclear Russia.” With the immediate shock of Russia’s invasion now in the distant past, she has returned to the rhetoric of isolationism.
“For me, it’s America First all the way and we’re not doing anything about our own southern border,” she told Insider. “Why are we protecting the border of another country?”
Breitbart, which has been a putlerist site since at least 2014, now has a devoted section called “UKRAINE WAR ESCALATION”, which features putler-friendly articles with some of the vilest trolls in the comments section. Sample article :
As previously stated, Trump supporters are drumming up fears of a nuclear WWIII. This is to sway people to vote Trump who claims he can easily end the conflict (presumably by withdrawing US aid).
The strategy has been plain as day for sometime, though conservatives claim they can’t see it. Open your eyes.
Some Americans would sell out their own grandmother for power. We are not immune to the disease. It’s a minority but they can derail future aid packages.
America needs to do more, not less. I worry Russia will raise the stakes to give these fringe-jobs ammunition. Unconventional weapons are frightening. This is worrisome as is Elon pulling support.
they should all be eliminated.
Trump’s influence is dropping fast. Ron Desantis is the next US president.
A presidential candidate who refuses to make public his precise position on Ukraine is as bad or worse than an open puttler advocate like Trump.
Trump’s influence is dropping. Ron DeSantis in the next US president.
Those not wanting to do as much if anything for Ukraine on both sides of the U.S. aisle are in the minority, but it is still very troubling and concerning. U.S. must not waver in it’s support for Ukraine and instead should amplify it. In fact U.S. could more than quadruple support and still not hurt the provisions to any domestic programs or jeopardize it’s own safety and security.
Ignore the media and keep fighting.