“I feel furious and dismayed as an American,” the former president remarked of the fighting. “It occurred as a result of a manipulated election.”
Yes, as a catastrophic international catastrophe approaches, the Republican Party’s leader is preoccupied with his sad Big Lie.
In the same interview, he chastised his own country’s leaders – Trump chastised the Biden administration for its “weakness and foolishness” — before implying that US troops were involved in last night’s military operation. Laura Ingraham was the one who had to explain that the amphibious assault had been initiated by Russians, not Americans.
Trump’s conflation of the two was intriguing.
To be sure, seeing the former president respond to these events was perplexing, but his petty incoherence reflected a greater truth: Trump was unable to clarify the Republican Party’s position on Russia’s attack because the Republican Party does not appear to have one. As James Pindell of the Boston Globe put it,
When it comes to the situation in Ukraine, President Biden is working with European allies to figure out how to best position themselves against Russian President Vladimir Putin. Meanwhile, Republicans trying to put together a response to this are all over the place, split between former president Donald Trump’s foreign policy and the one the GOP espoused in the year before his election as president.
While some Republicans are criticizing Putin, others are praising him. Others in the GOP are directly declaring they “don’t really care what happens to Ukraine one way or another,” while others in the GOP are portraying the crisis in serious and solemn tones.
“The different answers to Europe’s most serious foreign policy dilemma in decades reflect a divided — and fast changing — Republican Party,” the Associated Press continued. An old guard, mostly focused in Washington, that has long warned of Russian aggression is up against a rising generation of conservatives who openly question whether the US should worry at all about Russia’s actions.”
“A growing divide in the Republican Party, between traditional foreign policy hawks who have advocated for a more confrontational U.S. posture toward the Russian strongman and a Trump-aligned ‘MAGA’ faction that has expressed some sympathy for Putin’s tactics or described them as effective,” according to an NBC News report.
Republicans are united in their criticism of the Biden White House, but for a party that used to consider foreign policy knowledge as a core issue that defined Republican politics, the GOP’s lack of an understandable position in the face of a global crisis is astonishing.