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GOP rep: Some Republicans ‘would like to see the Russians win’

A growing number of GOP lawmakers are complaining that some of their Republican colleagues want Russia to win a war against a U.S. ally. This isn't normal.


It was earlier this month when House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael McCaul broke new ground about his party’s direction. “I think Russian propaganda has made its way into the United States, unfortunately, and it’s infected a good chunk of my party’s base,” the Texas Republican complained.

Five days later, the House Intelligence Committee’s Republican chair, Ohio’s Mike Turner, was about as candid while echoing the sentiment, conceding that some of his GOP colleagues were peddling rhetoric that’s “directly coming from Russia.” Soon after, former Defense Secretary William Cohen, a longtime GOP lawmaker, said he believes many congressional Republicans are now working as “the arm of Vladimir Putin.”

The list keeps growing. The Hill reported:

Republican Rep. Don Bacon (Neb.) ripped into his colleagues who oppose further funding for Ukraine, arguing they “would like to see” Russia win the more than two-year war against Kyiv. “Now for Ukraine, they have no more artillery. If we do not do this, the Russians will be in Kyiv. Unfortunately, a few of my colleagues would like to see the Russians win. I don’t know why that is the case. I think it’s a terrible thing,” Bacon said in an interview with C-SPAN.

In context, it was clear that the Nebraska Republican was referring to members of his own party.

Also yesterday, Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw expressed his own frustration with his GOP colleagues fighting to derail security aid for Ukraine — and the possibility that they’ll try to oust House Speaker Mike Johnson for allowing members to vote on the policy.

“I guess their reasoning is that they want Russia to win so badly that they want to oust the speaker over it,” the Texan told reporters. “I mean, that’s a strange position to take.”

To be sure, this Congress has been defined in large part by divisions within the shrinking House Republican majority conference, but this rhetoric from the last few weeks is qualitatively different from routine intraparty squabbling.

A growing number of GOP lawmakers are complaining — out loud, on the record, and occasionally even on camera — that there are Republican members of Congress siding with a U.S. adversary, taking steps to help Russia win a war against a U.S. ally. They’re effectively warning Americans that there are some GOP officials on Capitol Hill who aren’t just echoing the Kremlin’s position, they’re also actively and deliberately taking steps to help Russia prevail in an ongoing conflict.

This ... isn’t normal.

Two years ago, in the immediate aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the response from U.S. officials was relatively bipartisan. Both parties’ congressional leaders joined with the Biden White House in not only condemning Vladimir Putin’s deadly aggression, but also in directing support to the United States’ allies.

There were, however, a handful of far-right Republicans who went in a different direction. They didn’t explicitly endorse the Kremlin’s position — at least not at the time — but they also denounced efforts to assist Ukraine in the midst of the crisis.

It wasn’t long before this GOP contingent picked up some unflattering nicknames. Then-Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, for example, labeled the faction the Republican Party’s “Putin wing.” The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee called them the “GOP’s pro-Putin faction.” A Washington Post report added two years ago that these Republicans have formed “what some Democrats (and even critics on the right) have labeled ‘Putin’s Caucus.’”

Two years later, this dynamic has intensified to a breathtaking degree, to the point that some GOP members are telling reporters that there are Republicans who actually want Russia to prevail as it tries to take part of eastern Europe by force.