As the West continues to hit Russia with sanctions over the country’s invasion of Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin is having trouble finding support in the United States. Prior to the war, a YouGov poll in January found that Republicans viewed Putin more favorably than members of Democratic leadership. This sentiment has largely changed, with Putin’s favorability dropping to 5 percent of Republicans polled.
Many Republican voters have said they wish the Biden administration would take more aggressive action to help Ukraine, according to the Pew Research Center. But some Republican members of Congress have issued statements distancing themselves from that position.
“Remember that Zelenskyy is a thug,” Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) said last month. “Remember that the Ukrainian government is incredibly corrupt and is incredibly evil and has been pushing woke ideologies.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said Cawthorn was “wrong” for calling Zelenskyy a thug.
Cawthorn later backtracked his remarks, saying on Twitter that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions are “disgusting.” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) has also opposed supporting Ukraine.
“I do not support: Putin & his murderous war in Ukraine. Zelensky & Nazi militias in his corrupt country,” she wrote on Twitter. “I support the American People only and call for all of this to end.”
Appearing on Face the Nation last month, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Republicans who support Putin over the Russian invasion of Ukraine are “lonely voices” in the party. He dodged an invitation to say such Republicans should be ejected from the party or at least face disciplinary measures.
“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,” McConnell added.