At a news conference in Jerusalem, a reporter who identified himself as Russian suggested that Kevin McCarthy personally didn’t “support the unlimited and uncontrolled supplies of weaponry and aid to Ukraine.”
Despite loud MAGA opposition to Ukraine aid, and a previous comment from McCarthy himself before the midterm elections that the House GOP was “not going to write a blank check to Ukraine,” McCarthy backpedaled, bigly, telling the Russian reporter that he did support aid to Ukraine.
“I do not support what your country has done to Ukraine. I do not support your killing of the children, either. You should pull out. And I don’t think it’s right. And we will continue to support Ukraine, because the rest of the world sees it just as it is.”
What’s going on here?
Analyses by the Washington Post, Axios, and Semafor all connect the dots to the firing of Tucker Carlson by Rupert Murdoch.
After about a year of the GOP questioning aid to Ukraine, a turning point seemed to begin with Florida Gov Ron DeSantis’ blooper characterization of the Russian invasion as a “territorial dispute.”
McCarthy’s change of heart appears to rebuke the loud-mouths of the GOP, Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene who joined Tucker Carlson’s isolationist rhetoric, and instead echo the stance of Mitch McConnell. McConnell voices a moral and pragmatic approach to supporting Ukraine, as he and others have argued that it’s a relatively cost-effective way to further U.S. interests, given that Russia’s struggles in the war have undermined its stature on the world stage.
Just weeks before Carlson was fired, Ukrainian President Zelensky had phone conversations with both Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch.
Carlson frequently had criticized pro-Ukraine Republicans on air — and pressured them behind the scenes to change their positions or risk blowback from his top-rated program on cable news.
Now with Carlson’s Fox microphone silenced, the pressure has been relieved.
Without a definitive reason for Carlson’s firing, pro-Ukraine members of the GOP are relieved he’s gone.
- “There have been some that have argued that he was setting foreign policy for the Republican Party, which I find to be bizarre. Certainly not for me,” said Mitt Romney.
- “Clearly, he spooked a lot of members into not being fully supportive of Ukraine,” a senior Republican congressional aide told Semafor. Carlson’s ouster, the aide added, “probably reduces the loudest voice out there against U.S. support.”