The Republican party continues to see a divide in attitudes toward Russian President Vladimir Putin's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, and what role, if any, the United States should play in defending the fledgling democratic nation that formed out of the U.S.S.R.'s collapse in 1991.
In addition to sweeping sanctions against Russia and its oligarchs that have kneecapped the country's economy. the U.S. and other members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) have sent thousands of anti-tank weapons to Ukraine. President Joe Biden continues to insist that American troops will not be deployed to Ukraine for direct engagement with Russian forces.
Still, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is imploring Ukraine's allies to do more in assisting the nation. Though its military is woefully outmatched by Russia's, Ukraine continues to ward off the Russian takeover of its most consequential cities.
Meanwhile, some factions of the American right have blasted the U.S. for continuing to back Ukraine, and some have even rooted for Russia.
At a recent gathering of white supremacists at the America First Political Action Conference (AFPAC), outspoken racist and antisemite Nick Fuentes led the crowd in pro-Putin chants (two members of Congress—Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona—attended that conference.) Far-right Fox News host Tucker Carlson has repeatedly broadcast pro-Putin talking points to his millions of viewers, and called Ukraine a "client state" with no legitimate democracy.
Now, white nationalist podcast host and former Trump advisor Steve Bannon has called on Republicans to reject proposals for additional funding to Ukraine.
"No Republican should vote for any money for Ukraine. $0 for Ukraine." pic.twitter.com/clYTWWzIBo
— The Republican Accountability Project (@AccountableGOP) March 9, 2022
On Wednesday, the House voted in favor of nearly $14 billion to Ukraine, part of a $1.5 trillion omnibus bill that now heads to the Senate.
In the hours ahead of the vote, Bannon urged Republicans not to vote for any assistance toward Ukraine at all, saying:
"No Republican should vote for any money for Ukraine. Zero dollars for Ukraine. As much as your heart wants to help the poor women and children who are bombed and shelled every day. ... Not one penny. I hate to be an adult. When I was a child, I thought like a child. Now I'm a man, gotta think like it. Until we get a full briefing and disclosure of exactly what is going on with facts."
It's unclear what facts Bannon is waiting on.
Social media users, however, were not having his diatribe.
This shows Bannon doesn’t really understand the concept of truly fighting for your freedom. https://t.co/ooZkTWhhO8
— Kim Carroll (@Kimquilts2) March 9, 2022
Aside from the cringeworthy use of a Bible verse, his insistence on waiting for “facts” would be laughable if I didn’t know millions of Americans were nodding along. https://t.co/P2S8j5a2ky
— Lisa Gayle (@Lisa4839) March 10, 2022
While people in the US and elsewhere recognize that Putin is a threat to Democracy in Eastern Europe, we all need to be aware that there are similar threats in this country as well. This is ONE of the faces, and voices, of those threats...very real threats. https://t.co/uu4UjxrPrB
— Never Trump - Never Again! (@NeverTrumpNeve1) March 9, 2022
Why is it that I cant see this being the position of Ike or Reagan or Bush 41? https://t.co/5Gr1DTmvSd
— Lee Annis (@jleeannis) March 9, 2022
The @GOP is still very much pro-Putin. https://t.co/k5XLk795iT
— MeidasTouch.com (@MeidasTouch) March 9, 2022
Bannon says Ukraine should get no money until the “facts” can be verified.
Fact: Russia invaded Ukraine - our ALLY
Fact; Russian soldiers are targeting civilians - especially women & children
Fact: Steve Bannon is an asshole.
— I stand with Ukraine🇺🇦 (@Dadilicious2) March 9, 2022
Others were amazed that Bannon ever worked at the White House, and that he continues to enjoy credibility within the Republican Party.
The fact that this man, pardoned by Trump on federal fraud charges, remains a powerful, influential voice within the Republican Party tells you so much about the corrupted soul of that once-proud American institution. https://t.co/UNLEbcxiZq
— Jay Bookman (@jaysbookman) March 10, 2022
he held the job of "chief strategist" in Donald Trump's White House https://t.co/FEdsUiFt3B
— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) March 9, 2022
Republicans regularly go on this criminal's show and kiss his ass https://t.co/NY3CGemADN
— C-Bo the Eggman (@CBoTheEggman) March 10, 2022
The omnibus bill, including Ukraine relief, is expected to pass in the Senate.