The Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday parroted pro-Kremlin talking points that suggested Russia’s recent illegal annexation of Ukrainian regions was legitimate, and criticized the United States’ ongoing support of Ukraine.
In a since-deleted tweet, CPAC claimed Russian President Vladimir Putin had announced the annexation of four “Ukrainian-occupied territories,” which, to be clear, are lands internationally recognized as belonging to Ukraine. The U.S. has adamantly refused to acknowledge Russia’s annexation of the territories (which already seems to be falling apart) as legitimate. CPAC seemed to disagree with that position. The tweet accused “Democrats” of “gift-giving” to Ukraine, seemingly a reference to aid the Biden administration has authorized for the country amid the Russian invasion.
But many Republicans have supported aid for Ukraine, as well.
CPAC didn't remove the tweet until Saturday, blaming the "massive time zone difference" while hosting an event in Australia for the delay in deleting the "unapproved tweet."
“Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine must be repelled," CPAC tweeted Saturday. "Putin is a madman that is putting millions of lives at risk with his loose talk of nuclear war ... We must oppose Putin, but American taxpayers should not be shouldering the vast majority of the cost.”
The original tweet was widely criticized online, but it fits an obvious trend of Russophilia taking hold in the Republican Party. By highlighting a purported Putin victory while simultaneously criticizing aid to Ukraine, the tweet was seemingly meant to convey the futility of U.S. involvement in fending off the invasion. That line of attack, discouraging the U.S. from opposing Russia, has been parroted by right-wingers like Fox News host Tucker Carlson. And, I should note, it’s also been parroted by armies of fake social media accounts operated by Kremlin-linked groups pretending to be Americans.
Coincidence ... right?
The Republican Party — and CPAC in particular — has become openly obsessed with proto-fascist world leaders who mirror conservative Americans’ bigotry and, importantly, show favor to Putin. This includes Viktor Orbán, the far-right Hungarian leader who spoke at this year’s CPAC convention in Texas after publicly ranting against so-called race-mixing. ReidOut Blog readers will remember CPAC chose to host its first European convention in Hungary earlier this summer. And as my MSNBC colleague Steve Benen noted, conservatives’ fascist infatuation also has Republicans singing the praises of Italian Prime Minister-in-waiting Giorgia Meloni, whose party was founded by a leader of Benito Mussolini’s fascist government.
With CPAC’s latest tweet-and-delete fiasco, let there be no more confusion: The organization is enthralled by dictatorial regimes, and so are the American political figures who cling to it.