Many American p-oliticians have c-ondemned the m-ilitary operation in Ukr-aine, but former Presid-ent Donald Trump and h-is followers praise Vladi-mir Putin. They did not go over to the side of Ru-ssia – ambitions in the struggle for Congress and the White House are hidden behind big words. Joe Biden got the most: Repu-blicans accuse him of w-eakness and even demand impeachment. The already low rating of the head of the White House may fall even lower.
Speaking about the situation in Ukraine, Trump traditionally did not forget himself. “The catastrophe would never have happened if it weren’t for our rigged elections and if I were president,” he said.
At a conference of US conservative circles, he noted: “I remain the only president of the 21st century under which Russia has not invaded another country.” He added that Putin is certainly smart, but the main problem is that US leaders are stupid. And the Russian president will now “get the whole country for two dollars worth of sanctions – pretty smart.”
Trump called Putin’s decision to recognize the DPR and LPR “brilliant”. “He is going to become a peacemaker. This is the largest peacekeeping force. <…> We could use it on our southern border,” the billionaire reasoned, referring to the unfinished wall project between the United States and Mexico.
On Fox News, Trump boasted of “good relations” with Putin and suggested that the special operation in Ukraine began only because of the weakness of the White House administration. Air host Tucker Carlson supported the former president, and then expressed his own opinion.
“This is a humiliating defeat for Joe Biden. He is our leader and put the entire reputation of the country at stake, and Putin still did what he wanted. Biden, however, withdrew troops from Afghanistan and arm-ed the Taliban with adva-nced American weapons. Two misses in a year! Bi-den administration is po-mpous , ridiculous and self-centered – not much different from the withering old man who leads it, “one of America’s most popular TV presenters exclaimed on the air. Carlson also ridiculed the sanctions policy. “Kamala Harris is a jester, but the White House does not understand this. Nobody (in the Russian government. — Approx. ed.) expects these restrictions to lead to something. Nobody believes you anymore, Joe Biden,” commented he is the statement of the head of the White House and the vice president about “unprecedented measures against Russia.”
Previously, Carlson criticized the White House – including under Trump – for excessively inciting American hatred of Russia. But everything is not so simple, he noted: there is no democracy in Ukraine either. “Its leaders once sent millions of dollars to the Joe Biden family. The President of Ukraine arrested the main political opponent, closed newspapers and TV channels that dared to criticize,” the Fox News host emphasized.
Following Trump, other Republicans began to speak out in a similar vein. Ohio Senate candidate J.D. Van-ce has admitted he doesn’t care what happens to Ukr-aine. And he said on Twitter that “our leaders care more about the Ukrainian border than about their own.” Others of his party members also blame the White House, which is supposedly more concerned about the overseas conflict than illegal immigration. This is w-ritten, for example, by the official Twitter account of the Republican faction in t-he Judiciary Committee of the House of Represent-atives. Conservative and right-wing bloggers have gone even further, with so-me even supporting Vladi-mir Putin and his actions in Ukraine. “I’m on the side of Russia,” podcast writer Joe Altmann announced in late February. In Telegram channels and Facebook groups like “Voice of a Patriot” and “Texas for Donald Trump 2020”, participants also spoke for Russia. Some have argued that they trust Putin more than Biden. In general, according to the analysis conducted by Zignal Labs, the number of pro-Russian messages in English-language social networks, cable TV and media increased 26 times over the past week compared to the first week of February.
Of course, not all Re-publicans and supporters of the former owner of the W-hite House support Russia. Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell called on the Biden administration to pr-ovide direct military assistance to Ukraine. One of t-he most notorious politici-ans, Steve Bannon, a former Trump adviser and host of a popular conservative p-odcast, also denounced Moscow. But Biden beca-me the main target again. On the air on Feb. 25, Ba-nnon said that Congress should impeach the president for “fueling war in Ukraine.” “Europe has no desire to fight, isn’t it clear? You stirred up a hornet’s nest,” he turned to Biden.
Some in the party also occupy quite moderate positions. Missouri Senator Josh Hawley is confident that NATO should meet Russia halfway. He believes that the main threat to American security is China. “I am skeptical about expanding both physically and in any sense of our security commitments in Europe,” Hawley said.
From left to right
Throughout his political career, Trump has repeatedly spoken positively about the President of Russia and the heads of European countries who do not agree with the line of Brussels.
So, in 2016, Viktor Orban offered support to the then US presidential candidate, and he subsequently spoke well of the Hungarian leader. At the same time, Vladimir Putin also spoke positively about Trump. This influenced the opinion of the party’s supporters. According to The Washington Post, among the Republican electorate, the attitude towards the head of Russia improved from ten percent in July 2014 – after the events in Crimea and Donbass – to 37% in December 2016. Matthew Heimbach, foun-der of the Traditionalist Labor Party, then expressed admiration for the Kremlin and Europe’s conservative leaders: “Russia inspires me very much. I see Putin as the leader of the free world.”
And a January 2022 Yahoo News/YouGov poll showed that 62% percent of Republicans and their supporters consider Vladimir Putin a stronger leader than Joe Biden.
“Don’t look for consistency in Republican politics,” Craig Shirley, a Ronald Reagan biographer and political consultant, told The New York Times.
Hal Brands, a historian at Johns Hopkins University, recalled that during the Cold War, some on the extreme left spoke favorably of the Soviet Union as an alternative to wild capitalism. So politicians tried to achieve their own goals within the country and impress the electorate.
The current “fascination with Putin,” he believes, is also connected with the internal political struggle. “See how often he is imitated by those who are running for seats in future Congress,” Brands told The Washington Post. Based on his words and his own observations, the publication concludes that if earlier the Kremlin was considered an enemy of democracy, now it has become a “symbol” for right-wing US conservatives.
While many American politicians are demanding tougher sanctions, the progressive left sees otherwise. Representatives of the Brigada association of the Democratic Party, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, known for socialist statements, urge not to take “inhuman” measures. They do not welcome the collective punishment of all Russians. Although the general idea of ??sanctions is supported.
Meanwhile, Biden’s ratings are falling. According to a recent ABC News poll, only one in three respondents approve of his work, while 55% were against it. At the same time, half of the respondents believe that the Congress should be headed by Republicans. Democrats support 40%. True, the study was carried out even before the start of the military operation in Ukraine. The current rating of the president is likely to be even lower – a confrontation with Russia could lead to an increase in inflation in the United States by ten percent. This hasn’t happened since 1981, CNN recalls.
And Trump is wasting no time. At the end of February, he finally launched his own social network Pravda. The decision to create it was made last year, when Twitter, Facebook and YouTube banned the accounts of the current president after a video message to the participants in the storming of the Capitol.
Trump’s words about Russia are addressed primarily to Biden, said Vladimir Vasiliev, chief researcher at the Institute for the US and Canadian Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences. “The speech was very aggressive. The elections were rigged, the victory was stolen, and the president is stupid – the main message. The essence of the statement was that he would stand as a candidate in 2024,” Vasilyev emphasizes. American relations could have been different, albeit in a peculiar way, but this politician came to the defense of the Russian president.”
However, the Republican got involved in a difficult game. “For him, Ukraine is a headache, because because of the pressure on Vladimir Zelensky, he received his first impeachment. But at the same time, he always said that Ukrainian issues are not a priority for the United States. Therefore, Trump is not opposed to these problems being resolved with the help of Russia” , says the analyst. It will depend on the development of events whether Trump scores or loses points.
However, the same can be said about Biden.
At the same time, the rating of the former president is very high now. So, 59% of the visitors to a conservative political conference in Florida on February 26 voted for his return to the White House, writes Reuters. And this at least speaks of the high chances of the Republicans in the November midterm congressional elections.