As Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) voiced his concerns that Republican colleagues may “politicize” carte blanche funding of Ukrainian defense, he inadvertently justified their objections with an unquestionably “America Last” message.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has persisted for nearly three months now and, among leadership, there appears to be a bipartisan tug-of-war over who can be Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s chummiest ally. After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) led an unannounced delegation from her caucus to the war-torn nation, McConnell followed suit in the wake of a $40 billion aid package being single-handedly, if not temporarily, thwarted by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).
The senior Kentucky lawmaker appeared to chide the junior senator Sunday on a call from Stockholm, Sweden, where he addressed the press on issues including his unwavering — and uncapped — support of Ukraine.
“I think it’s important for the United States to help, important for the free world to help, important for the Ukrainians to win, and hopefully not many members of my party will choose to politicize this issue,” McConnell said to the press according to The Hill.
While the statement was in response to a question on the 57 House Republicans who had voted against the passage of the legislation, McConnell’s insistence that the bill would receive a vote no later than Wednesday was undoubtedly influenced by Paul’s interference as Kentucky Today reported he stated, “It’s no secret Rand and I have a different world view of the importance of America’s role around the world. It won’t create a problem.”
Rand Paul blocks $40B foreign spending package; ‘We cannot save Ukraine by dooming the U.S. economy’ https://t.co/QW1J1uqRkb pic.twitter.com/D2sH91ewOv
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) May 13, 2022
Known for his measured isolationist views, Paul explained, “My oath of office is to the U.S. Constitution, not to any foreign nation and no matter how sympathetic the cause, my oath of office is to the national security of the United States of America.”
“We cannot save Ukraine by dooming the U.S. economy,” he added, reinforcing the sentiments from House members who voted against that was expedited through with no floor debate. Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) called the move “the garbage of getting a $40 billion bill at three-o-clock in the afternoon” when there hadn’t even been a chance to review it.
Not only did McConnell dismiss concerns of unbridled spending and set the priorities of his constituents beneath those of the Ukrainians, he admitted that Zelenskyy would be calling the shots on how he would proceed as a leader in congress stating, “The question always is, how does it end? And my view remains that that’s a decision for the Ukrainians to make. My definition of victory is whatever Zelenskyy and the Ukrainians conclude is a satisfactory end.”
“It’s important to point out to our colleagues and to the American people,” McConnell argued, “it’s in America’s interest to do this. This is not charity we’re involved in here. This is in our interest to help the Ukrainians, just like it’s in the interest of the NATO countries. This is not some handout. This is to prevent this ruthless thug (Russian President Vladimir Putin) from beginning a march through Europe. The first place to stop him is in Ukraine and that’s what we’re determined to do.”
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