Three Minnesota U.S. GOP congress members receive ‘F,’ don’t support Ukraine
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy gives a Ukrainian flag signed by members of the Ukrainian military to then-U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi .D-CA, as he addresses a joint meeting of Congress in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol on Dec. 21, 2022 in Washington, D.C. In his first known trip outside of Ukraine since Russia invaded, Zelensky met with U.S. President Joe Biden and outlined Ukraine’s request for continued military aid. Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images.
Three Republican Minnesota U.S. House members received a grade of “very poor” on their support for Ukraine, based on their public statements and votes to cut United States’ aid to the war-torn country.
U.S. Reps. Pete Stauber, Brad Finstad and Michelle Fischbach all received an “F” from the conservative advocacy group Republicans for Ukraine, which on Monday released a report card grading all Republicans in the U.S. House.
“By educating GOP voters and congressional leaders about the need to continue supporting America’s ally, Republicans for Ukraine is mobilizing public opinion behind what was traditionally a bedrock conservative principle: strong American leadership in the world,” Republicans for Ukraine said in a release.
Republicans are split about support for Ukraine, with some members arguing the U.S. should stop military support for Ukraine, echoing former President Donald Trump.
A June poll showed more than four in 10 Republican voters say the U.S. is giving too much aide to Ukraine, while earlier polling showed Republican voters held Russian President Vladimir Putin in higher regard than President Joe Biden.
Although Trump’s criminal trials and attempt to overturn the 2020 election and Biden’s age are garnering the most attention, the fate of Ukraine could hang in the balance in the next presidential election. Biden has drawn together the international community and successfully lobbied Congress to provide crucial support to Ukraine.
It’s unclear what Trump would have done if he were president when Russia attacked Ukraine in early 2022, but at the time he called Putin “savvy” and has long expressed admiration for the Russian strongman.
House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, of Minnesota’s 6th District, received an “A” from Republicans for Ukraine for his votes and public statements backing Ukraine.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, the United States has allocated over $75 billion in aid to Ukraine, including military support and humanitarian and financial aid, according to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
In July, the House passed a defense budget, though it’s currently awaiting passage following negotiations with the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate. The House bill included a few provisions from the far right faction of the GOP caucus, like restricting abortion access for military personnel.
U.S. Reps. Marjorie Taylor Green of Georgia and Matt Gaetz of Florida proposed amendments to the bill cutting military aid to Ukraine, which Stauber, Finstad and Fischbach supported. The amendments ultimately failed.
The Republicans for Ukraine report card also factored in public statements about the United States’ aid to Ukraine.
Stauber, who represents Minnesota’s 8th District, told the Duluth News Tribune this summer he voted to end military aid to Ukraine because he wanted to highlight Biden’s “lack of transparency and accountability.”
“There are billions and billions of American taxpayer money and military equipment currently unaccounted for with no strategic plan to end the conflict,” Stauber told the Tribune. “I support the Ukrainian people’s efforts to defend themselves and defeat Russian aggression.”
Finstad, who represents Minnesota’s 1st District, told the Rochester Post Bulletin that he’s worried the United States isn’t keeping an accurate record of where the aid is going.
“We don’t understand completely where our money and our equipment have gone. That’s worrisome for me for a lot of different reasons, right? Look at our National Defense Supply. Are we depleting our supplies in certain weapons and in certain equipment?” Finstad said.
On the day of the invasion in 2022, Fischbach released a statement saying America needed to defend Ukraine.
“It is past time for the United States to reassert its leadership. America and the rest of the free world must stand together in face of this aggression,” Fischbach said in February.
The report card still gave her an “F” because she voted to cut aid. The offices of Stauber, Finstand and Fischbach did not immediately return the Reformer’s request for comment.
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