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GOP’s ‘Putin wing’ emerges: Cawthorn calls Ukrainian gov’t ‘evil’

While most U.S. officials have expressed support for allies in Kyiv, Madison Cawthorn said Volodymyr Zelenskyy is a “thug” leading an “evil” government.


As the crisis in Ukraine continues, most elected officials in the United States have expressed support for their allies in Kyiv. There are however, some notable exceptions.

WRAL in North Carolina reported this morning on Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn, who told a group of supporters this past weekend that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is a “thug” leading an “evil” government.

“Remember that Zelenskyy is a thug,” Cawthorn said in a video obtained by WRAL. “Remember that the Ukrainian government is incredibly corrupt and is incredibly evil and has been pushing woke ideologies.”

In recent years, there have been too many instances in which Republicans have peddled anti-Ukraine talking points, without regard for accuracy. For the most part, however, many of those same GOP voices have curtailed such talk in the wake of the Russian invasion.

But this makes the exceptions all the more striking. It was Donald Trump, for example, who praised Putin’s efforts in Ukraine as “genius” and “very savvy.”

Soon after, retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor, a Pentagon official in the Trump administration, argued that the United States should “absolutely” just let Vladimir Putin take what he wants in Ukraine.

This week, Republican Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, on the heels of voting against a symbolic resolution in support of Ukraine, amplified Russian claims about Ukrainian biological labs.

And now Cawthorn is condemning U.S. allies in Ukraine amidst an intensifying war.

When Rep. Liz Cheney complained about the GOP having a “Putin wing,” her comments didn’t come out of nowhere.

Other lawmakers are already taking note of Cawthorn’s rhetoric. Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona tweeted, in reference to the North Carolina Republican, that it’s “disturbing that he sits in our classified briefings on Russian Ukraine war. Not sure now that is a good idea.”

We probably haven’t heard the last of this.