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McCarthy’s Ukraine claims are too deceitful to be laughable

The Republican Party is waging an all-out assault on history and memory. 

While there’s justifiable worry about the GOP’s attempts to erase factual accounts of history from school textbooks, there’s a parallel effort to gaslight and mystify Americans about recent happenings, as well. The GOP’s attempt to clean its blood-stained hands after effectively backing then-President Donald Trump’s notorious pressure campaign against Ukraine in 2019 is just the latest example of this shameless revisionism.

GOP lawmakers are looking for image rehabilitation here.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., appeared on “Fox News Sunday” and performed what can best be described as a stand-up routine disguised as a sympathetic, pro-Ukraine rant as the country fends off Russia’s invasion. 

“This is going to get stronger and rougher, and what really needs to happen is — Ukraine is not asking for American men and women to fight; all they’re asking for is the weapons to defend themselves,” McCarthy said.

Then he hit us with the punchline: “If we would have taken those actions earlier instead of waiting till after Russia invaded, they probably never would’ve invaded, had we done that sooner.”

The claims would be laughable if they weren’t made in such bad faith.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy conducts his weekly news conference in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center on March 18.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy conducts his weekly news conference in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center on March 18.Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images, file

McCarthy’s comments came days after the Biden administration announced $800 million in additional military aid to help Ukraine fight Russia. In total, the administration has authorized more than $3 billion in military aid for Ukraine, according to USA Today. The Republican’s remarks also came without any acknowledgement whatsoever about his role — and his party’s role — in destabilizing Ukraine before Russia’s invasion even began. 

Trump deciding to withhold military aid from Ukraine shortly before trying to pressure President Volodymyr Zelenskyy into digging up dirt on Biden in 2019 signaled to Russia that U.S. politics was fractured on diplomatic issues. Trump deserved to be impeached for that — not just because it was an antidemocratic power grab, but because, as foreign affairs experts have said, his actions gave Russia permission to wage an attack on Ukraine without fear of a coordinated U.S. response.

McCarthy voted not to impeach Trump over the delayed Ukraine aid, which was eventually released, so his gripe over perceived delays in sending Ukrainians weapons now rings hollow. But this line of attack has become common in the fact-averse Republican Party. Other GOP lawmakers who also opposed Trump’s impeachment — from Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri to Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky — have issued similar hypocritical statements condemning the Biden administration for so-called delays.

GOP lawmakers are looking for image rehabilitation here. Their pro-Ukraine act is an attempt to alter the public’s memory, paper over their dear leader’s clear disdain for the country’s independence and distract from the party’s complete lack of credibility. 

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