Our latest book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. Among other things, it discusses foreign influence and Trump's attack on democracy. Russia helped Trump through 2020. As Russia began its latest invasion of Ukraine, Trump lavished praise on Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.
In the final years of Donald J. Trump’s presidency, Republicans portrayed Ukraine as an Eastern European Wild West run by nefarious oligarchs and unlawful politicians, a bad actor that sought to tamper in American elections and channel millions of dollars to Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s son.
“We’re talking Ukraine,” thundered Representative Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio, in 2019, describing the country as “one of the three most corrupt countries on the planet.” The setting was a hearing for Mr. Trump’s first impeachment, over his efforts to pressure Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, into digging up political dirt on Mr. Biden.
Now such voices are fading, as the bulk of the Republican Party tries to get on the right side of history amid a brutal Russian invasion of Ukraine. Republicans are among the most vociferous champions for the United States to amp up its military response, and are competing to issue the strongest expressions of solidarity with Ukraine’s leaders.
In January, as Russia continued to amass more troops near Ukraine’s borders, Republicans including Representatives Matt Rosendale of Montana, Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia weighed in to oppose the United States confronting Russia or to suggest that President Biden had malevolent intentions in his handling of the matter. So did the Ohio Senate candidate J.D. Vance and Donald Trump Jr.
Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, gave a lengthy speech on Monday at the Ronald Reagan President Library in California, trying to explain how the party of Reagan, with its aggressive stand against the Soviet Union, could be the same as the party of Trump, which stood by as a president sided with Russia’s autocratic president against the judgment of America’s intelligence community.