Congressional Republicans split on Ukraine response

While some Republicans feel that Biden should do more to stand against Russia, others say the United States should not be involved.

Updated: January 26, 2022 - 4:27pm

Congressional Republicans are divided on how the United States should respond, if at all, to a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine. Some Republicans are criticizing President Joe Biden for not doing enough to stand against Russian President Vladimir Putin, but others say it is not the responsibility of the U.S. to respond.

"So far with this administration, we have seen a doctrine of appeasement, and that certainly is not going to deter President Putin and Russia from invading Ukraine, so let's make sure we are pushing back right now with stiff sanctions," Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) told ABC's "This Week."

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) agrees with Ernst. "What the signal I want to send is, 'We're not going to back off,'" he said, according to The State. "Don't wait for the invasion."

Top House Foreign Affairs Committee member Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) accused Biden of being a "weak president," and told CNN that "this is not just about Ukraine in a vacuum. This is about all of our foreign nation adversaries. China is looking at this very closely. President Xi is looking to see if Putin can invade Ukraine and get away with it, he is going to look at Taiwan."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday applauded the Biden administration for "moving in the right direction" and taking action before Russia invades Ukraine. Business Insider reported that McConnell also supports moving NATO and some U.S. forces into eastern Europe and the Baltics.

Other Republicans are standing against possible U.S. military action in Ukraine.

A strong ally of former President Donald Trump, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) said the events in Europe are "concerning. But… not one American soldier should be shipped across the world to fight to protect the Russian-Ukrainian border. Not one American soldier should die there and not one American bullet should be fired there."

Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) posted a statement on Twitter, which was retweeted by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), about the escalating tensions as Biden considers deploying U.S. troops. 

"American foreign policy must serve the interests of the American people. Despite claims by war hawks on both sides of the aisle, it is not in our national interest to spill American blood and treasure in Ukraine," Rosendale wrote. "A nation that cannot effectively secure its own border and protect its own territorial integrity, cannot be responsible for doing so for nations in Eastern Europe. We must put America first."

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who has been criticized for her more controversial viewpoints, used the situation to push for Biden's impeachment. "With Biden threatening war with nuclear Russia, it’s time for the Judiciary Committee to take up Congresswoman Greene’s first set of Articles of Impeachment," she said, before accusing Biden of being "compromised because of his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine."

The Pentagon announced Monday that 8,500 U.S. service members are on heightened alert to deploy. Biden has continued to threaten economic sanctions on Russia in the event of an incursion.