McConnell Tells Munich Conference Regarding Ukraine Support: “Don’t Look at Twitter, Look at People in Power, Look at Me and Speaker Kevin McCarthy”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) addressed the Munich Security Conference Friday morning on NATO and support for Ukraine. McConnell told the Europeans to look to him and Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as well as top Republicans in the House and Senate, saying,
“Republican leaders are committed to a strong trans-Atlantic alliance. We are committed to helping Ukraine. Not because of vague moral arguments or abstractions like the so-called ‘rules-based international order.’ But rather, because America’s own core national interests are at stake. Because our security is interlinked and our economies are intertwined.” McConnell appears to be trying box in McCarthy–who did not go to Munich–from overseas on Ukraine.
McCarthy has said there would be no blank check for Ukraine in the Republican led House of Representatives.
The U.S. has a large bi-partisan delegation at the conference led by Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), former Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and nearly fifty lawmakers, according to Reuters. In contrast, on Thursday current Speaker McCarthy led a Republican delegation inspecting the U.S.-Mexico border at Tuscon, Arixona.
McConnell is making a strong push to try to persuade wavering Republicans and GOP voters to continue robust support and funding for Ukraine. He spoke on the Senate floor on Thursday and appeared on Fox News where he said that defeating Russia in Ukraine is the “single most important event going on in the world right now.”
Mitch McConnell on Fox News: “I’m gonna try to help explain to the American people that defeating the Russians in Ukraine is the single most important event going on in the world right now … there should be a bipartisan support for this.” pic.twitter.com/BJoOcy17iL
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 16, 2023
Excerpt from McConnell’s Senate floor speech on Thursday where he sums up his appeal for the U.S. and NATO to ramp up military spending to prepare for threats of war with Russia and China:
“In the short term, both America and our allies need to serve our own interests by investing in the munitions and weapons systems that will help Ukraine defeat the invasion.
“But this new chapter of realism and resolve cannot end with Ukraine. Because the long-term threats and challenges that we face go much deeper.
“A nuclear-armed Russia poses a threat to the United States and NATO.
“And China poses an even greater threat still to American interests and those of our allies.
“These challenges are multifaceted, they are global, and they are only growing.
“So I look forward to talking to our allies in Munich — both about America’s resolve to lead… and Europe’s responsibility to shoulder more of the load.”
Excerpts from McConnell’s speech at the Munich Security Conference as prepared for delivery:
“Well, good morning, friends.
“Let me start by saying: I am a conservative Republican from America, and I come in peace! Reports about the death of Republican support for strong American leadership in the world have been greatly exaggerated.
“My party’s leaders overwhelmingly support a strong, involved America and a robust trans-Atlantic alliance. Don’t look at Twitter, look at people in power. Look at me and Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Look at the top Republicans on the Senate and House committees that handle Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, Appropriations, and Intelligence. Look at the former Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, National Security Advisor, and Director of National Intelligence from the previous Republican Administration.
“Republican leaders are committed to a strong trans-Atlantic alliance. We are committed to helping Ukraine. Not because of vague moral arguments or abstractions like the so-called ‘rules-based international order.’ But rather, because America’s own core national interests are at stake. Because our security is interlinked and our economies are intertwined.
“Popular support for a strong and involved NATO alliance will only be sustained if leaders across the alliance explain clearly and concretely to their own citizens how their nation’s peace and prosperity hangs in the balance.
“This is a case that top Republicans are making in Washington and to the American public on a daily basis. Frankly, some of us find ourselves making this case more often and more plainly than our own President.
…”Now in my view, there is much more America must do to improve our defense capacity: We need to streamline the overly bureaucratic weapons procurement process. We need to make significant investments — quickly — in critical munitions, transformational capability, and the industrial base to provide it.
“To remain the arsenal of democracy, we must also reform how we sell weapons to allies and partners. Our Foreign Military Sales process should not be so painfully slow or vulnerable to passing political whims. These investments and reforms will help America keep supporting Ukraine, rebuild our own stockpiles, and modernize our forces for the even greater challenges to come.
“While America steps up our game, we need our European allies to step up yours as well. If I am a true friend, I owe you my candor. If you want to help Ukraine win; if you want NATO to emerge stronger from this conflict; and if you want sustained political support in America for our staying engaged and invested in maintaining a Europe that is whole, free, and at peace… then America’s friends on this continent must mirror the resolve and reciprocate the commitment that you hope to see from us.”
The Wall Street Journal’s Natalie Andrews reported McConnell did use the line about looking to him and McCarthy and not Twitter on Ukraine support, “McConnell in Munich: “My party’s leaders overwhelmingly support a strong, involved America and a robust trans-Atlantic alliance. Don’t look at Twitter, look at people in power. Look at me and Speaker Kevin McCarthy…. Republican leaders are … are committed to helping Ukraine”
McConnell in Munich: “My party’s leaders overwhelmingly support a strong, involved America and a robust trans-Atlantic alliance. Don’t look at Twitter, look at people in power. Look at me and Speaker Kevin McCarthy…. Republican leaders are … are committed to helping Ukraine”
— Natalie Andrews (@natalieandrews) February 17, 2023
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Author: Kristinn Taylor