Two GOP senators share photos from Zoom call with Zelensky despite requests not to
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this report misidentified senators who shared the images during the call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. This version has been updated.
Republican Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Steve Daines (Mont.) shared photos from U.S lawmakers’ virtual meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky after they were reportedly asked not to do so due to security concerns.
Both senators shared photos of Zelensky speaking to Congress on Twitter with captions indicating that they were on the call.
Multiple aides told NBC News lawmakers present were directed by Ukrainian officials not to share pictures of the president during the call.
Democratic Reps. Dean Phillps (Minn.) and Jason Crow (Colo) slammed the senators later on Saturday.
“The Ukrainian Ambassador very intentionally asked each of us on the zoom to NOT share anything on social media during the meeting to protect the security of President Zelenskyy. Appalling and reckless ignorance by two US Senators,” Phillips tweeted.
“The lack of discipline in Congress is truly astounding. If an embattled wartime leader asks you to keep quiet about a meeting, you better keep quiet about the meeting,” Crow said.
Rubio’s office denounced the attacks against his tweet, saying there were no security issues with the post.
“There were over 160 members of Congress on a widely reported Zoom call. There was no identifying information of any kind. Anybody pretending this tweet is a security concern is a partisan seeking clicks,” a spokesperson for Rubio said.
Danies’s office said the photo was shared on Twitter before the request to not post images was made and similarly accused those pushing back against the post as seeking attention.
“This was a well reported call with over 250 people joining, and it was not a secure or classified briefing. The photo was shared before it was requested not to and well into the call, and it had no identifying information. We should be focusing on what’s important here and that’s supporting Ukraine. The only reason why anyone wants to make this an issue is partisan clickbait,” Daines’s spokesperson said.
During the meeting, Zelensky said that his country was in need of assistance to protect its airspace and asked the U.S. to establish a no-fly zone. He also requested more planes and for the U.S. to stop buying Russian oil.
“President Zelenskyy made a desperate plea for Eastern European countries to provide Russian-made planes to Ukraine. These planes are very much needed. And I will do all I can to help the administration to facilitate their transfer,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement following the call.
–Updated on March 6 at 10:53 a.m.
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