Republicans vote ‘no’ on Ukraine aid, then slam Biden for not helping enough

More than 30 Senate Republicans recently voted against a measure sought by President Joe Biden to increase military aid to help Ukraine resist Russia’s invasion. Now, most of those senators are excoriating Biden for not doing enough to help Ukraine. What’s wrong with this picture?

Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley is, as usual, among the leaders of this parade of hypocrisy, accusing the administration last week of “dragging its feet” and hounding Biden to “step up” on the issue. He was specifically referring there to the administration’s reluctance to send Poland’s MiG jet fighters to Ukraine — a position this newspaper has criticized as appearing too timid — but Hawley is the wrong messenger for even the right message on this topic.


Not only did Hawley vote against last week’s omnibus spending bill that included $13.6 billion in new aid to Ukraine, he also was an early voice against substantial U.S. involvement at all. He wrote to Secretary of State Antony Blinken in early February that aggression from China, not Russia, should be America’s primary focus.

He also called for the administration to drop its support for Ukraine’s entry into NATO, essentially demanding the appeasement of Russia on that issue.

Now, no doubt inspired by polls showing Americans overwhelmingly support Ukraine and condemn Russia in the conflict, Hawley is suddenly that besieged nation’s best friend.

Other Republicans are similarly casting Biden as being insufficiently supportive of Ukraine, ignoring the old adage about politics stopping at the water’s edge.

What an interesting conversion for a crowd that, almost to a person, voted against holding then-President Donald Trump accountable in 2019 for his impeachment-worthy betrayal of this U.S. ally in service to his own political motives.

Recall that Trump suspended military aid that Ukraine needed to fend off Russia, then told Volodymyr Zelenskyy — the same Ukrainian president now hailed as a hero by Republicans and Democrats alike — that he’d see about restoring it, but needed a “favor” in return: an investigation by Ukraine’s government designed to embarrass Biden as he challenged Trump’s reelection bid.

This was a betrayal of U.S. interests that bordered on treason, yet in Trump’s impeachment proceedings that year, Hawley and almost every other Republican in Congress voted to let it slide.

Now these same meek enablers of Trump’s abuses are blasting Biden over what amounts to a difference of opinion as to how far Russian leader Vladimir Putin can be pushed without risking nuclear war.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell — who also voted against convicting Trump back them — joined the pile-on last week, chiding Biden for “not doing nearly enough quickly enough to help the Ukrainians,” adding: “Comparing Zelenskyy to Biden is depressing.”

But not as depressing as comparing these Republican hypocrites’ rhetoric to their actions.

— St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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