In a straightforward Q&A, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan was asked whether a congressional vote against further American assistance for Ukraine is, as Democrats in and out of the White House have asserted, essentially “a vote for Putin.”
[Note: Unlike resistance to American support for Israel, which the Biden administration hopes to pair with Ukraine funds, resistance to further Ukraine funding has been largely GOP-driven, with congress members Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz and others on the far right actively campaigning against more U.S. aid to Ukraine.]
Sullivan responded to the question with clarity, saying: “I believe that any member of Congress who does not support funding for Ukraine is voting for an outcome that will make it easier for Putin to prevail.”
Reporter: Are you saying any member of congress who votes against aid to Ukraine is voting for Putin?— Acyn (@Acyn) December 4, 2023
Sullivan: I believe that any member of congress who does not support funding for Ukraine is voting for an outcome that will make it easier for Putin to prevail. pic.twitter.com/UUSItiBmad
He added that this conclusion was not about casting aspersions on the motives of certain congress members — Sullivan makes clear he is not saying that anyone in Congress is voting expressly for the purpose of supporting Putin. But the “inescapable reality,” Sullivan says, “is that a vote against supporting Ukraine is a vote to improve Putin’s strategic position.”
Sullivan says that he is merely speaking to the “outcome of their vote,” about which there can be little doubt — a Ukraine backed by the U.S. is indisputably better positioned against Putin than a Ukraine without U.S. support.
[Note: Congress members Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz and others on the far right have been actively campaigning against further U.S. aid to Ukraine.]
That campaign and those votes against aid will “hurt democracy and help dictators,” Sullivan says, imploring “every member, Democrat or Republican” to vote for supplemental Ukraine support.
It’s an area where even Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Donald Trump backer, aligns more closely with the White House and the Biden administration — for now. “If you were in that briefing,” Graham says in the video below after a Ukraine security briefing in September, “and you came away believing that what we do in Ukraine doesn’t affect our national security interest in the world then you literally had your ears closed.”