Missouri newspaper slams 'useful idiot' Josh Hawley’s Ukraine response and 'appeasement' of Vladimir Putin
Although Washington Post columnist Max Boot and other conservative Never Trump pundits have praised President Joe Biden’s response to the crisis in Ukraine, a variety of Republicans have been reflexively critical of the president’s Ukraine policy. Some Republicans have accused Biden, who is promising to impose tough economic sanctions on Russia, of not being hawkish enough. But some MAGA isolationists have responded by slamming Biden while praising Russian President Vladimir Putin, including former President Donald Trump, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.
Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, a MAGA Republican and strident Trump loyalist, has said that the U.S. should stay out of the Ukraine crisis and focus on China instead. And the Kansas City Star’s editorial board calls him out in a scathing editorial published on February 22.
Hawley argued, “America has an interest in Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity, and we have a strong interest in deterring Russian adventurism. But these interests are not so great that we should commit ourselves to fight Russia over Ukraine’s future.”
The Star’s editorial board, in response, writes, “As Russian troops pour into eastern Ukraine, provoking what may become the most dangerous shooting war in Europe since World War II, Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley is the disgraceful voice of appeasement.… The junior senator opposes any effort to admit Ukraine to NATO. No one is talking about sending U.S. troops to fight in Ukraine, of course. Instead, the Russian invasion requires serious economic and political sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin and his dictatorial regime.”
The Star’s editorial board continues, “It also demands coordination with U.S. allies across the world, and universal condemnation in the strongest possible terms. Invading a sovereign nation is a violent, illegal act, period, and must be punished.”
Hawley’s comments on Ukraine, Biden and Putin have drawn criticism from Never Trump conservatives who include The Bulwark’s Charlie Sykes and the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin. Sykes, the Star’s editorial board notes, slammed Hawley as one of Putin’s “useful idiots” — a description the Star obviously agrees with.
“America should denounce the incursion with one voice,” the Star’s editorial board writes. “Don’t look to Hawley for help. His public two-step about the Russian threat — amplified by countless tweets and television appearances — has clearly provided aid and comfort to Putin and hardliners in Russia. Yes, even as he now hypocritically complains that the sanctions President Joe Biden has announced are ‘not enough.’ You can see the deadly results, as the video comes in from Ukraine.”
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