White House hits Cotton for not backing Ukraine security assistance
The White House on Friday pushed back against Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) after the senator argued the U.S. needed to do more for Ukraine despite voting against billions of dollars in aid for the country last week.
Press secretary Jen Psaki responded to a Cotton tweet from Wednesday in which the senator said: “No more timidity and half measures. It’s time to send Ukraine the weapons needed to end this invasion.”
Cotton “had a chance last week to back his words with actions by voting for the security assistance for Ukraine that the President announced yesterday,” Psaki tweeted. “He and 30 of his fellow Senate Republicans voted against that money.”
Psaki listed off ways in which the funding bill assisted Ukraine, including $13.6 billion in aid for anti-aircraft defense systems, anti-tank weapons, smaller weapons for the Ukrainian military and millions of rounds of ammunition.
“Our assistance is making a difference on the ground, and the President is delivering more,” Psaki tweeted.
Cotton was among 31 Republicans who voted against a bill that included $1.5 trillion in government funding and the $13.6 billion in aid for Ukraine as it attempts to fend off a Russian invasion.
Conservatives had complained about the Ukraine aid being tied to the broader government spending bill, which they argued contained wasteful spending and pet projects for lawmakers.
“The aid was <1% of an inflation-busting $1.5 trillion budget,” Cotton tweeted in response to Psaki, complaining that Biden should have sent the aid before the Russian invasion.
The back and forth underscores how some Republicans have criticized Biden for being too slow to provide aid to Ukraine or not doing enough to help the country with military aid.
Democrats have called out those attacks as hypocritical given Republicans defended then-President Trump when he was impeached for leveraging military aid for Ukraine as he pushed for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Biden and his family’s business ties in Ukraine.