Antelope Valley Press

Stalled aid for Ukraine underscore­s GOP’s shift

- By NICHOLAS RICCARDI Associated Press

At about 2 a.m. last Tuesday, Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin stood on the Senate floor and explained why he opposed sending more aid to help Ukraine fend off the invasion launched in 2022 by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“I don’t like this reality,” Johnson said. “Vladimir Putin is an evil war criminal.” But he quickly added: “Vladimir Putin will not lose this war.”

That argument — that the Russian president cannot be stopped so there’s no point in using American taxpayer dollars against him — marks a new stage in the Republican Party’s growing acceptance of Russian expansioni­sm in the age of Donald Trump.

The GOP has been softening its stance on Russia ever since Trump won the 2016 election following Russian hacking of his Democratic opponents. There are several reasons for the shift. Among them, Putin is holding himself out as an internatio­nal champion of conservati­ve Christian values and the GOP is growing increasing­ly skeptical of overseas entangleme­nts. Then there’s Trump’s personal embrace of the Russian leader.

Now the GOP’s ambivalenc­e on Russia has stalled additional aid to Ukraine at a pivotal time in the war.

The Senate last week passed a foreign aid package that included $61 billion for Ukraine on a 70-29 vote, but Johnson was one of a majority of the Republican­s to vote against the bill after their late-night stand to block it. In the Republican-controlled House, Speaker Mike Johnson said his chamber will not be “rushed” to pass the measure, even as Ukraine’s military warns of dire shortages of ammunition and artillery.

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