Sun. May 19th, 2024

Mitch McConnell sees Ukraine aid as one the most important legislative victories of his career

By 37ci3 Apr25,2024

WASHINGTON – For Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, it’s been a months-long battle US aid to Ukraine has had historical effects.

Last year, Ukrainian forces performed successfully He stopped Russian advances but it badly needed new weapons, ammunition and supplies. President Joe Biden sent an urgent request to Congress for a new round of aid to the war-torn country, and McConnell, R-Ky., immediately jumped on board.

But he faced a major obstacle: the loudest voices in his party suddenly had a new idea of ​​whose side they were on.

“It was a family battle from the beginning,” McConnell said in an interview Wednesday. “It was a Republican issue; it was a family dispute. And here the action was directed towards Ukraine, towards us.”

From McConnell’s perspective, winning over a reluctant faction of the GOP is one of the most significant legislative victories of his decades-long congressional career.

“Well, I think one of the most important issues that I’ve dealt with in all these years, without a doubt,” McConnell said before pausing. “And if you look at it from a world perspective, you could argue that it’s the most important.”

Throughout his career, McConnell has focused on deregulatory legislation and House Republican tax cuts, and last year became the longest-serving leader of one party in Senate history.

McConnell also made one of the most impactful decisions of his career in 2016 when he decided whether to hold a confirmation hearing or vote for then-President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. The decision resulted in a dramatic reshuffle of the court when Donald Trump won the presidency, appointing three conservative justices to the court that overturned Roe v. Wade.

On Ukraine, a U.S. ally, McConnell strongly believes the GOP base was swayed by the message of then-Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who opposed U.S. support for it.

“He had a huge audience among rank-and-file Republicans and began to demonize Ukraine in such a way that I felt like I was completely ignoring the facts,” McConnell said. “But he had a huge following. And we’re all in politics, I mean, people are starting to hear about it from their Republican friends and supporters.

McConnell also said that Trump contributed to his harsh criticism of Ukraine. The combination of the two most popular voices among GOP voters who disdain Ukraine has pushed congressional Republicans into a fight that has forced pro-Ukraine Republicans to add a border package to the talks, one they believe has bipartisan support to bring to Biden’s desk.

They were wrong.

“The former president said he would rather we do nothing,” McConnell recalled of the border provisions. “So it took a few months.”

McConnell viewed the ongoing debate in the context of the Second World War. He said he was concerned that the same isolationist tendencies that kept the U.S. out until the attack on Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor are creeping back in at a time he sees as potentially more dangerous.

Asked to compare the threats of 1941 with those of 2024, he said: “We had two great power rivals, but no advanced terrorist problem. Now we have two major power rivals, then Iran and terrorism. So it’s a much more difficult situation than what we faced at the time. I don’t want to make the mistakes we did then.”

The Senate first considered the aid bill for Ukraine and Israel in February. The vote came after the failure of a bipartisan initiative for legislation to resolve the US border with Mexico, with many Republicans joining Trump in saying they should not transfer aid abroad without addressing domestic threats.

However, McConnell said that behind these discussions, he saw an increase in support for the Ukraine package within his party.

“Once it became clear that we weren’t going to get anywhere at the border, that issue went away and we were able to focus on what the package basically was,” McConnell said.

McConnell, who announced in February He acknowledges that he will step down from the top job at the end of the year during his time in Congress, a process that Trump could have obstructed and made the final steps more difficult, but chose not to, which made a big difference. .

“I thought in the end he helped,” McConnell said of Trump provided hellos approval last month.

Trump has proven compassionate in his policy stances, moving day by day on issues, but McConnell hopes for a long-term shift in support for Ukraine.

“I think it’s a fact that President Trump has accepted [House Speaker Mike Johnson] it was useful. And he’s always been impressed by the victory, and I think we won by a wide margin here in the Senate,” McConnell said Tuesday in a 79-18 vote.

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By 37ci3

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