Former Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton ripped into Republicans and conservative pundits who have given cover to Russian President Vladimir Putin. GOP members of Congress, Fox host Tucker Carlson, and former president Donald Trump (R) have all praised Putin or downplayed the dictator’s aggression.
The GOP and their followers are enrapt with the Russian strongman because he is “anti-gay, anti-freedom, and anti-democracy.”
The religious right idolized Putin because he targeted LGBTQ people. Russia’s anti-LGBTQ laws were a “good thing” that “most of the people in the United States” would support, Austin Ruse of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), insisted.
Scott Lively, who fueled the homophobia that led to Uganda’s law to make homosexuality a crime punishable by death, regularly visited Russia and once described it as a “beacon of freedom.”
The appearance of Donald Trump as the GOP standard-bearer only solidified that love of Russia. Trump favored Putin’s word over his own intelligence officers, despite all the evidence of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.
“I said, ‘This is genius,’” Trump said on a right-wing podcast after the dictator invaded. “Putin declared a big portion of … Ukraine … as independent. Oh, that’s wonderful. … I said, ‘How smart is that?’ And he’s going to go in and be a peacekeeper….We could use that on our southern border. That’s the strongest peace force I’ve ever seen. There were more army tanks than I’ve ever seen. They’re going to keep the peace all right. Here’s a guy who’s very savvy … I know him very well. Very, very well.”
Trump is still lauding Putin, but he’s not alone. There’s always Tucker Carlson, who seems to be auditioning for a primetime spot on Russian television (which he’s already getting). In the days leading up the invasion, the Fox News commentator said he had nothing against Putin since Putin had never tried to get him fired, unlike the demonic libs.
GOP Senate candidate from Ohio, J.D. Vance said on an episode of Steve Bannon’s “War Room” show, “I gotta be honest with you, I don’t really care what happens to Ukraine one way or another.”
“I do care,” he continued, “about the fact that in my community right now the leading cause of death among 18-45-year-olds is Mexican fentanyl that’s coming across the southern border.”
Missouri Senator Josh Hawley (R) took an isolationist stance regarding Ukraine on Tucker Carlson’s Fox Network broadcast, “And right now, we’ve got to put American security interests first. And that means we’ve got to focus on China, and we’ve got to focus on our own borders. We need to ask our European allies to do more.”
Clinton explained to Joe Scarborough how American politics has come to this.
“I think it happened starting with the ascent of Trump. There has been, sadly, a total loss of spine and conscience among too many Republicans who at first saw no harm in echoing and kind of parroting the kind of crazy stuff that Trump would say totally against history, totally against common sense as you know so well. And now they’re kinda caught in a kind of downward spiral where they’re afraid to stand against even the most outrageous comments.”
“There’s also another element, which is these people are naive in such a dangerous way. They somehow believe that because Putin presents himself as a strong leader on behalf of certain values that are anti-gay, that are anti, you know, freedom and democracy that’s so messy, that somehow that corresponds with the views of certain members and elements of the Republican Party. They could not be more mistaken.”