It’s eight plus months till election day. But former President Trump’s coddling of Russian President Putin’s Ukraine policy during his Administration and now the invasion of Ukraine may turn into a midterm campaign issue benefitting Democrats.
Stephen Collinson reports at CNN Politics, ” It took only 24 hours for Donald Trump to hail Russian President Vladimir Putin’s dismembering of independent, democratic, sovereign Ukraine as an act of “genius.”….The former President often accuses his enemies falsely of treason, but his own giddy rush to side with a foreign leader who is proving to be an enemy of the United States and the West is shocking even by Trump’s self-serving standards.”
It gets worse. Trump also said, “So Putin is now saying, ‘It’s independent,’ a large section of Ukraine. I said, ‘How smart is that?’ And he’s going to go in and be a peacekeeper. That’s the strongest peace force,” Trump said. “We could use that on our southern border. That’s the strongest peace force I’ve ever seen. … Here’s a guy who’s very savvy. … I know him very well. Very, very well.”
Collinson notes, further, “Trump’s latest idolization of Putin is likely to widen the growing divide in the GOP between traditional hawks, who have sometimes praised Biden for standing up to the Russian leader, and pro-Trump lawmakers – and conservative media stars like Tucker Carlson – who have sided with Putin….The House Republican leadership, which is in Trump’s pocket, accused Biden of “appeasement” on Tuesday – the same day that their de facto leader described Putin as a “genius.”
No doubt many Republican candidates for the Senate and House are squirming today. But former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo praised Putin for being an “elegantly sophisticated.” Mitch McConneell, along with some G.O.P. House members tried to deflect criticism to President Biden. Representing the sane wing of the G.O.P., Rep. Liz Cheney tweeted “Former President Trump’s adulation of Putin today – including calling him a “genius” – aids our enemies. Trump’s interests don’t seem to align with the interests of the United States of America.”