GOP criticizes Biden for rising gas prices while ignoring their support of the man who really caused it
As the cost of gas skyrockets to unprecedented prices across the United States, Republican lawmakers are pointing the finger at President Joe Biden for imposing sanctions on Russia. On Tuesday, March 8, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) made a statement slamming Democratic lawmakers for the rising gas prices.
"I expect our Democratic friends will now try to blame the entire increase in prices on our efforts to punish Russia. But don't be fooled," McConnell said from the Senate floor. "This was more than a year in the making."
However, there are a number of problems with this particular argument.
Not only are they failing to acknowledge that they widely supported Russian President Vladimir Putin prior to his invasion of Ukraine, but they also supported the sanctions that have been imposed on Russia; two factors that directly influenced the rising cost of gas prices.
Back in February, McConnell himself joined a band of Republican leaders and lawmakers who called for still sanctions against Russia. In fact, McConnell advocated for "devastating" sanctions, according to CNN.
"Sadly, deterrence after the fact is not deterrence at all. The President should have exercised his extensive authorities to impose certain tough sanctions early enough to actually deter invasion and weaken Russia," McConnell said. "We should have ensured that the pipeline of lethal aid to Ukraine was flowing far sooner. And we should have sent more reinforcements to support NATO's eastern flank allies earlier."
On February 24, a group of Republican lawmakers released a statement expressing their concern about the invasion of Ukraine as they advocated for sanctions. At the time, House Foreign Affairs Committee ranking member Michael McCaul, House Armed Services Committee ranking member Mike Rogers and House Intelligence Committee ranking member Mike Turner released a joint statement calling for action against Russia.
"We cannot respond like we did in 2008 or 2014. The world must never forget or forgive this heinous act," the Republicans said in a statement, according to CNN.
The statement came prior to Biden's announcement of additional sanctions against Russia on Thursday, February 24. "Leveling additional banking sanctions and export controls against Russia and Belarus is a necessary move, but these actions are a far cry from the 'swift and severe' and 'unprecedented' sanctions President Biden promised for months," they said. "[We] are concerned that President Biden is holding additional U.S. penalties in reserve. The people of Ukraine do not have the luxury of time."
The same day, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) also released a statement in support of sanctions as he described Putin as "reckless and evil."
"The United States stands with the people of Ukraine and prays for their safety and resolve. Putin's actions must be met with serious consequence. This act of war is intended to rewrite history and more concerning, upend the balance of power in Europe. Putin must be held accountable for his actions," McCarthy said.
"The U.S. must have a bipartisan show of strength -- when the House is back in session next week, we call for Speaker Pelosi to hold a vote on our NYET Act to impose real costs on the Putin regime," the lawmakers continued.
In the days leading up to the Russian invasion, many Republican lawmakers echoed former President Donald Trump's admiration of Putin. On several occasions, Fox News' Tucker Carlson has praised Putin for his authoritarian-style leadership. But shortly after the Russian military ascended on Ukraine, Republican lawmakers began backpedaling and calling for stronger sanctions against Russia.
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