Editor’s note: Dean Obeidallah, a former lawyer, is the host of the daily SiriusXM radio program “The Dean Obeidallah Show” and a columnist for The Daily Beast. follow him @DeanObeidallah. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. See more reviews on CNN.
“I have to be honest with you. I don’t care what happens to Ukraine one way or another”, JD Vance declared in February, shortly before Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his brutal war against the Ukrainian people.
The GOP Senate candidate in Ohio then flip-flopped, saying that he wanted “Ukrainians to succeed”. But like the Washington Post detailed On Sunday, Vance’s quirky remark urges Ukrainian Americans who are longtime Republicans to back his Democratic challenger, Tim Ryan, in this all-too-close Senate race.
Vance’s initial reaction was callous and inflammatory, but recent comments by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy were even more alarming. McCarthy said if Republicans won the House in November, Ukraine could no longer expect US aid to be a “blank check.”
I guess no one would be happier to hear McCarthy’s words than Putin. The United States is the world leader in aid to Ukraine, providing more than $18 billion since January 2021, far more than any other nation. These funds gave the Ukrainians they desperately needed humanitarian aidaccompanied by a wide range of weapons from artillery ammunition to defensive systems.
This military support for Ukraine — as well as the leadership of the Biden Administration to rally Western aid to this democratic nation – has been credited by allowing the Ukrainians to limit the invasion of Russia and enabled successful counter-offensives that recaptured territory seized by Russia.
This monththe Biden administration has authorized an additional $725 million in security aid for Ukraine after Putin’s forces launched a brutal missile barrage against Ukrainian civilian targets and electrical installations that led to “massive power outages” Across the country.
As Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Twitter last week, after Russian missiles rained down on Ukrainian cities, “A different kind of Russian terrorist attacks: targeting critical energy and infrastructure. Since October 10, 30% of Ukrainian power plants have been destroyed, causing massive power cuts across the country.
In fact, around the same time Russia was destroying Ukrainian power plants, McCarthy was suggesting that a GOP-led Congress may no longer provide solid funding to help Ukraine fight against Putin’s illegal war – a position that the Republican representative. Liz Cheney called a decision “dangerous” motivated by their own political interest.
“The idea that now Kevin McCarthy is going to become the leader of the pro-Putin wing of my party is just stunning. It’s dangerous,” Cheney said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“He knows better, but the fact that he’s willing to suggest that America will no longer stand up for freedom, I think, tells you that he’s willing to sacrifice everything for his own political gain.”
Meanwhile, GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene — who recently said that if Republicans win the House in next month’s election, she expects McCarthy to ‘give me a lot of power and a lot of leeway’ – blamed Ukraine for the war shortly after the attack on the Russia, saying that “Ukraine kept pushing the bear and pushing the bear, which is Russia, and Russia invaded.”
Greene—- who joined 56 other House Republicans in May to oppose aid to Ukraine – compared US aid to Kyiv to a “money laundering scheme”.
Conservative Fox News Starsincluding Laura Ingraham and especially Tucker Carlson, laid the groundwork with members of the Republican base, preparing them for the eventuality of an end to US aid to Ukraine.
Carlson – who said on his show in 2019 when there was a potential conflict between neighboring countries it was “rooting for russia– did his best in the months leading up to Putin’s attack to paint Ukraine in a negative light. For example, Carlson falsely claimed that Ukraine was “not a democracyand called Ukrainian leader Zelensky a “puppet of the Biden administration.”
And last week, Ingraham scoffed former Vice President Mike Pence for calling the United States “the arsenal of democracy” and suggesting that our massive military is too exhausted to help other countries like Ukraine. During that same episode, Ingraham hosted GOP Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana, who echoed McCarthy’s comments about Ukraine aid, saying, “We cannot put America first by giving blank checks to those around the world to solve their problems.”
President Joe Biden has rightly criticized McCarthy and other Republicans who want to cut or end aid to Ukraine, noticed last week, “These guys don’t understand. It’s much bigger than Ukraine — it’s Eastern Europe. It’s NATO. These are real, serious and serious consequences.
As Biden suggested, McCarthy and some of his fellow Republicans may or may not get it. But there is one person who understands perfectly: Vladimir Putin. Few people will have more cause for celebration if the GOP regains control of the House.