McConnell Blames Carlson, Trump for Delaying Ukraine Aid

McConnell discusses GOP's future and Ukraine aid strategy

by Zain ul Abedin
McConnell Blames Carlson, Trump for Delaying Ukraine Aid
© Andrew Harnik/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell highlighted a significant milestone with the impending $60 billion U.S. aid package for Ukraine, set to pass imminently. During a press conference, McConnell critiqued the protracted Republican delays in securing support for the aid, attributing the hesitation to former Fox News host Tucker Carlson and ex-President Donald Trump.

McConnell expressed his displeasure with Carlson's influence over public opinion regarding Ukraine, noting, "The demonization of Ukraine began by Tucker Carlson, who in my opinion ended up where he should have been all along, interviewing Vladimir Putin." He emphasized Carlson's significant impact on Republican voters who doubted the wisdom of the aid.

Regarding Trump, McConnell observed, "The former president had sort of mixed views on Ukraine aid." He also mentioned complications in the legislation due to attempts to include border security measures, which did not meet some members' expectations.

The Senate leader lamented the nominee for president's apparent disinterest in advancing the aid, which he said further delayed the process. However, McConnell, a staunch advocate for Ukraine, celebrated the legislative progress as a victory for American and global democracy.

He viewed the Senate's overwhelming support, with an 80-19 vote to advance the legislation, as a return to traditional Republican values of defending democratic principles worldwide.

McConnell Endorses GOP Shift

McConnell, planning to step down from leadership but still intent on strengthening the Republican Senate majority, praised the current slate of GOP candidates.

He believes they signify a shift away from isolationist trends within the party, noting, "I think we’ve turned the corner on the isolationist movement." Despite delays blamed partly on the Biden administration and Congress's slow response, McConnell commended House Speaker Mike Johnson's transformation from a sceptic to a supporter of Ukraine aid, which was crucial for the bill's passage in the House.

McConnell quipped about Trump's support for Johnson, suggesting that even the former president recognized Johnson's pivotal role. Looking ahead to the elections, McConnell expressed optimism about the Republican Senate nominees, hinting at a potential majority shift.

"I feel pretty good about our nominees. I’m pretty confident we’re going to win West Virginia. That’s 50. You all can do the math. One more makes 51," he concluded, hopeful about handing over his role to a majority leader.

This strategic move underscores McConnell's ongoing influence in shaping the party's future direction, even as he prepares to leave his leadership position.