The war in Ukraine has opened a new front in the U.S. Republican Party’s civil war, with party primary candidates vying to run in the November midterm elections attacking each other for past comments praising Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In Senate and House of Representatives races in at least three states, Republican candidates have been put on the defensive over comments describing Putin as intelligent, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy as a “thug” and Ukraine as not worth defending. They now face criticism at a time when U.S. public opinion strongly supports Ukraine and its president.
Pat McCrory, a leading Republican Senate candidate in North Carolina’s May 17 primary election, lashed out this week at his Trump-backed Republican rival, Representative Ted Budd, in his first TV ad.
“While Ukrainians bled and died … Congressman Budd excused their killer,” McCrory says in the ad, which is interspersed with video clips from a TV interview showing Budd describing Putin as “a very intelligent actor” with “strategic reasons” for the invasion.
The ad also accused Budd, who has described Putin as “evil,” of casting votes “friendly” to Russia. [Continue reading…]