Trump’s response to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine exposes Republican divisions

Lawmakers and Republican candidates are largely united in their belief that President Biden’s response to the invasion of Russia Ukraine Deficiencies – Indeed, it is former President Donald Trump’s statements on Vladimir Putin and Ukraine that reveal divisions in the Republican Party over the scope of US involvement in foreign conflicts.

The varied and sometimes conflicting Republican reactions, both during the election campaign and on Capitol Hill, underscore how the party remains heavily influenced by Trump, who praised Vladimir Putin as “smart” after the Russian president recognized the independence of two Russian separatists he controls. regions in eastern Ukraine.

As Russia began Large scale invasion later Wednesday“It all happened because of a rigged election,” Trump told Fox News. At a fundraiser in Mar-a-Lago on Wednesday evening, he continued his praise of Putin, calling him “too smart” to “take over a country in exchange for $2 penalties.” (Statement video It was distributed on Twitter by American Bridge, a super PAC.)

While most Republicans abstained from Putin’s moves in Ukraine and called for swift and severe sanctions, others aligned with Trump echoed the former president’s view, adopted a less hostile view of the Russian leader and were more conservative about any US military action in Europe. Trump’s allies have reinforced this sentiment on prominent media platforms, many of whom portray Washington’s concern about Russia as an institutional, even elitist, concern.

However, Republicans have largely been united about beating Biden over the conflict in Eastern Europe without ever having to be held accountable for a congressional vote, as key figures in the party have criticized the president’s leadership.

However, the confused foreign policy position of the Republican Party itself has different blocs vying for political capital and influencing the voters of the core parties.

Discussions of foreign policy, and the way in which deeply held Republican beliefs about America’s role in the world have evolved dramatically under Trump, will be presented at the Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual gathering of activists that opens Thursday in Orlando, Florida. Trump is scheduled to speak, along with some traditional voices of Republicans.

Trump described Putin as “smart” in a radio interview With “The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show” on Tuesday, after the Russian President gave a speech Which identified his justification for Russia’s entry into Ukraine. “I said, this is genius.” Putin declares a large part of Ukraine in Ukraine, and Putin declares it an independent country. Oh, that’s great. So Putin now says it is an independent region, a large part of Ukraine. I said, “How smart is this?” He will enter and be a soldier of peace.”

The comments reminded us of Trump’s notorious reputation 2018 summit with Putin in Helsinki, where he took the words of the Russian president on American intelligence agencies. During his first presidential campaign and presidency, Trump criticized NATO and allied countries for not paying their fair share when it comes to common defence.

Years later, Republicans aspiring to a higher office have praised Trump’s handling of Russia, and some appear to offer similar views to Putin. Mike Pompeo, who served as Secretary of State and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency in the Trump administration, Tell Fox News reported on Sunday that Putin is “a very talented statesman. He has a lot of gifts. He was a KGB agent for good. He knows how to use force. And we have to respect that.”

Earlier this week, Pompeo took a less laudatory approach Twitter“Vladimir Putin is the aggressor. And the Ukrainians are the victims.” But in TV interviews and on Twitter, Pompeo argued Trump’s approach to Russia has been successful. “Vladimir Putin is the same person he was during our administration. The only thing that has changed is American leadership,” he said.

Speaking in Iowa on Wednesday hours before the invasion began, Pompeo ramped up his criticism of Putin, calling him an “evil” and a despot who “wanted to re-establish this concept of Greater Russia or the Soviet Union for so long.”

Former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who is likely to be a presidential candidate in 2024, has been eager to get involved in the conversation about Russia. Her comments focused on the Biden administration, while giving a nod to Trump, Twitter“Vladimir Putin is on the verge of re-creating the Russian Empire, if not the Soviet Union. It wasn’t long before the leader of the free world prevented that from happening. Today, under Biden, our weakness is to provoke Russian aggression.”

The divisions are also evident in the course of the campaign. In the primaries for retired Senator Rob Portman in Ohio, for example, GOP candidate Jane Timkin joined other Republicans in calling for tougher penalties. She cited both Reagan and Trump: “America First means peace through strength. President Trump has proven for four years that we can have a secure southern border and face our enemies.”

One of her competitors, J.D. Vance, has made a case for laissez-faire, arguing that the invasion “has nothing to do with our national security” and that it “distracts ‘idiot’ leaders from focusing on the things that really matter to us national security, such as securing the borders and stemming the flow of fentanyl that kills.” American children, Timkin accused of being “Republican Cheney.”

Timken, who made an announcement last week linking himself to Trump, hit back at Vance noting Ohio is home to 80,000 Ukrainian Americans.

CBS News vote Earlier this month, it was found that Republicans would prefer the United States to stay out of the conflict, and they strongly disagree with the way he deals with Russia more broadly.

On Capitol Hill, Republicans took a more hardline approach and pushed Biden to issue tough penalties. Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton has criticized the administration for waiting to impose sanctions until after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “Not a minute to be wasted,” Cotton wrote on Twitter earlier this week.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also called for faster and more comprehensive sanctions, urging a halt to construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany. (The Biden administration issued Sanctions against the company Construction of the pipeline on Wednesday.)

With the invasion off to a good start Thursday, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, a close ally of Trump, issued a prominent statement not to mention the current administration or the previous administration. “Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is reckless and evil. The United States stands with the people of Ukraine and prays for their safety and determination,” he said. Putin must be held accountable for his actions.”

“I think this is the moment to signal American power,” McConnell said. “Both Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi took the wrong message from our swift withdrawal from Afghanistan. It looked not just messy, it sounded weak.” He said Speaking with business leaders in Kentucky this week. So they are pushing borders everywhere in response to the perception of American weakness and loss of resolve.

Aaron Navarro contributed to this report

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