UPDATE: Joan McCarter
Biden just spoke, slamming Republicans for “playing chicken with our national security.”
Senate Republicans stormed out of a classified briefing about Ukraine on Tuesday in a performative tantrum over immigration, dooming a procedural vote Wednesday on aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan—and, potentially, the assistance altogether. This was a serious escalation in the Republicans’ effort to force through racist, xenophobic immigration policy reforms, and it will make finding a resolution to provide urgent aid for Ukraine that much harder.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had intended to participate in the briefing via video but was unable to. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other Biden officials went ahead with the briefing, so the Republican senators were unconstrained by the need to act like serious lawmakers in front of company. In short, Republicans attended a classified briefing on Ukraine and had a fit that the briefing wasn’t about the border.
“Their lack of preparedness to discuss and their clear apprehension to utter a word as it pertains to border security policy was not just an oversight, it was intentional. It was a political decision,” Republican Sen. Todd Young of Indiana told reporters afterward. Sen. Kevin Cramer, a North Dakota Republican, unironically accused Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of refusing to negotiate on border security. “He wouldn’t bring anybody in here to talk about it,” Cramer said. “Clearly the military people in the room don’t want to talk about it.”
Indeed, because they were there to talk about Ukraine, Schumer accused Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who was previously among the staunchest supporters of Ukraine, of engineering the stunt.
“It was immediately hijacked by leader McConnell. The first question—instead of asking our panelists—he called on [GOP Sen. James] Lankford to give a five-minute talk about the negotiations on the border, and that wasn’t the purpose of the meeting at all,” Schumer said afterward. “And then when I brought up the idea that they could do an amendment and have the ability to get something done on border, [Republican colleagues] got stuck.”
“They didn’t like it and even one of them started—was disrespectful—and started screaming at one of the generals and challenging him why he didn’t go to the border,” Schumer said. That senator appears to have been Cramer, who bragged about it later. “I took them on with the microphone in my hand,” he crowed to reporters.
Schumer is bringing up the first procedural vote on the aid bill on Wednesday, and offered an amendment on immigration, which the GOP has rejected, with McConnell leading the way. “I’m advocating and I hope all of our members vote no on the motion to proceed to the shell [bill] to make the point, hopefully for the final time, that we insist on meaningful changes to the border,” McConnell told reporters.
Looks like Moscow Mitch is back in the saddle, putting Putin—and by extension Donald Trump—first again. This is, after all, about the ability of Russia to trample over a western neighbor.
And while Republicans are fighting over an imagined U.S. border war, Russia is bombing Ukrainian civilians.
White House warns of impending crisis in Ukraine assistance funding
Senate Republicans do Trump's bidding on Ukraine, immigration
Republicans, including MAGA Mike Johnson, are putting Russia ahead of their districts