Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP rises to meet Ukraine challenge to define itself Sunday shows preview: Biden calls Putin a war criminal as Ukraine conflict continues This week’s must-watch moments on Capitol Hill MORE (R-Ky.) on Sunday called Republicans who support Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinBelarusian president says Putin is ‘completely sane’ and ‘in better shape than ever’ Thousands of Mariupol residents forcibly taken to Russia, city council says Pentagon chief says Russia has ‘struggled with logistics,’ made ‘missteps’ in Ukraine invasion MORE “lonely voices” within the GOP.
Appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” McConnell called for further direct assistance to be given to Ukraine, including weapons systems. He also called for a change in attitude, saying the U.S. should approach the situation with the belief that Ukraine could win the conflict, considering how long it has fended off a Russian takeover.
Host Margaret Brennan noted that McConnell’s clear support of Ukraine differed from what some other members of his party have said, pointing to Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.), who called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a “thug.” Cawthorn’s remarks were widely amplified by Russian state media.
“Well, there’s some lonely voices out there that are in a different place,” McConnell said. “But looking at Senate Republicans, I can tell you that I would have, had I been the majority leader, put this Ukraine supplemental up by itself. I think virtually every one of my members would have voted for it.”
“The vast majority of the Republican Party writ large, both in the Congress and across the country, are totally behind Ukrainians and urging the president to … take these steps quicker, to be bolder. So there may be a few only voices off the side. I wouldn’t pay much attention to them,” he added.
On Friday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyGOP rises to meet Ukraine challenge to define itself Ginni Thomas’s activism sparks ethics questions for Supreme Court justice Support in both parties grows for providing air power to Ukraine MORE (R-Calif.) said Cawthorn was “wrong” for calling Zelensky a thug.
“Madison is wrong. If there’s any thug in this world, it’s Putin,” McCarthy said, though he acknowledged that he still supported Cawthorn’s reelection.