Republicans are lining up to criticize President Joe Biden for what they claim is a lack of aid and support to Ukraine in its long-standing battle with Russia. On April 17th, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) condemned the Biden Administration for not arming Ukraine sooner, insinuating that if the President had done so, Russia would not have invaded.
“If we would have taken those actions earlier, instead of waiting until after Russia invaded, they probably never would have invaded had we done that sooner,” the House Republican leader said.
In 2019, the field of Presidential hopefuls had dwindled, and it became clear that then-President Donald Trump would be facing off against former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 election. At that point, Ukraine – on the defensive since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 – needed US help to fend off an aggressive military threat from Russian President Vladimir Putin. While Congress had already approved a $400 million infusion of cash to the beleaguered nation, Trump withheld that aid for his own political agenda.
Trump was using the aid money as a bargaining chip to force Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce a corruption investigation into Biden’s son, Hunter. It was a quid pro quo move that would lead to the Former Guy’s first impeachment. It was the same impeachment that McCarthy voted against.
In September 2019, CBS News‘ Scott Pelley would call McCarthy out on his support for Trump – pushing back on the Republican Congressman as McCarthy evaded his questions.
Here’s an excerpt from the 60 Minutes interview:
Pelley: “What do you make of this exchange? President Zelensky says ‘we are almost ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense purposes,’ and President Trump replies, ‘I would like you to do us a favor though.'”
McCarthy: “You just added another word.”
Pelley: “No, it’s in the transcript.”
McCarthy: “He said ‘I’d like you to do a favor though?'”
Pelley: “Yes, it’s in the White House transcript.”
As time went on, McCarthy would ramp up his defense of Trump’s decision to withhold the aid – aid that was eventually released after Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) threatened to hold back $5B in Pentagon funding – as “doing the right thing.” J.M. Reiger of The Washington Post reminded Kevin — and the public — in this tweet:
2020: “These are taxpayer dollars going to another country that people believed there was corruption with a new administration. I think it was the rightful thing to do.”
2022: “Provide them the armaments earlier to deter Putin"pic.twitter.com/GUhyISN75A
— JM Rieger (@RiegerReport) April 1, 2022
Gaslighting from the GOP is commonplace. And though they would like the American public to forget…we were there.
Kevin McCarthy needs to stop pretending that he wasn’t completely complicit in defending Donald Trump’s illegal quid pro quo that delayed crucial aid to Ukraine when they first needed it, and he needs to stop trying to pin the blame on the Biden administration.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick