Taking a cue from former Vice President Mike Pence, who last week publicly condemned those who praised Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy also broke ranks with Trump in a statement on March 8th, calling Putin “evil” and a “dictator”.
Neither Pence nor McCarthy have called Trump by name, but it’s not a stretch to guess who they were talking about. Trump gushed that Putin was “savvy” and had this to say:
“I said this is genius. Putin declares a big portion of the Ukraine, of Ukraine — Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that’s wonderful.”
To which McCarthy had to say:
“I do not think anything’s savvy or genius about Putin.”
Trump has since pivoted from his initial support and praise of his hero Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, mostly to place blame on the man to whom he lost the presidential election, current POTUS Joe Biden. Trump has refrained from criticizing Putin directly, only saying the killing should stop. Unable to help himself, he also asserts that if he were president, Putin never would have invaded — memory holing his role emboldening Putin’s aggression.
He must have forgotten the quid pro quo.
But the public hasn’t. VoteVets, a progressive PAC committed to seeing Democratic Veterans elected to office, made a scathing video reminder — a reminder to Trump, the American people, and the GOP (or Party of Putin as VoteVets calls it), that Trump’s coddling of the dictator when he was in office set the course to where we are now.
Remember, Donald Trump was impeached for threatening to withhold military aid for Ukraine. Aid Ukraine needed to hold off Russian aggression. He tried to extort Ukrainian President Zelensky, the hero now leading the resistance on the streets.
Kevin McCarthy doesn’t have a good track record sticking to his guns when it comes to contradicting his dear leader. He backtracked fairly quickly after condemning the January 6th insurrection. A week after Trump loyalists and supporters tried to overthrow the government, McCarthy said this on the House floor:
“The president bears responsibility for the attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding. These facts require immediate action by Donald Trump.”
Yet a week after that, McCarthy walked back his statements, saying that he didn’t believe that the twice impeached Trump incited his supporters to overtake the Capitol.
So far, there hasn’t been any rebuke from Trump, and McCarthy appears to be standing by his position. Just recently, he agreed that Mike Pence’s statements that there is no room in the Republican Party for Putin apologists are correct.
We’ll see how long it lasts.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick