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The G.O.P.’s ‘Putin Wing’

todayApril 7, 2022

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Carlson has also promoted a false rumor, popular in Russia, accusing the U.S. of funding biological weapons labs in Ukraine. These comments are consistent with Carlson’s history of arguing that the U.S. should align itself with Russia over Ukraine. “I think we should probably take the side of Russia, if we have to choose between Russia and Ukraine,” he said in 2019.

Koch Industries, the conglomerate whose controlling family is a major funder of Republican candidates and conservative causes, has said it would continue to operate in Russia even as many Western companies have left.

Political advocacy groups affiliated with Charles Koch have also questioned why the U.S. is levying harsh sanctions on Russia and have suggested that a Ukrainian victory is not in America’s interest, as Judd Legum of the Popular Information newsletter has reported. “The United States can and should do very little for Ukraine,” Will Ruger, the president of a Koch-funded group, has said. “Ukraine simply doesn’t matter to America’s security or our prosperity.”

Marjorie Taylor Greene, a far-right Georgia congresswoman, has criticized both Russia’s invasion and Ukraine’s government. President Volodymyr Zelensky’s government is corrupt, she claimed (without offering evidence), and is in power only because the Obama administration helped overthrow the previous regime (which is not true). She has argued that the U.S. should not send weapons to Ukraine.

Matt Rosendale, a Montana congressman, called Zelensky “a less-than-forthright president of the Ukraine.”

Former Trump administration officials have echoed their boss’s comments. “I have enormous respect for him,” Mike Pompeo, the former secretary of state, said of Putin. “He is very savvy, very shrewd.” Peter Navarro, who was a Trump economic adviser, said that Ukraine was “not really a country” because it used to be part of the Soviet Union. Douglas Macgregor, another administration official, said that Russian forces had been “too gentle” with Ukraine.

At least two Republican candidates have made similar comments. “I don’t really care what happens to Ukraine one way or another,” J.D. Vance, who is running for Senate in Ohio, said. Joe Kent, who is trying to win a primary over a House Republican who voted to impeach Trump over the Jan. 6 riot, called Putin’s demand to control part of eastern Ukraine “very reasonable.”

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todayApril 7, 2022