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.
Support for Biden’s approach to the war is ebbing, particularly among Republicans. The new House Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, has warned there will be no “blank check” for Ukraine going forward, and a recent survey by the Pew Research Center found that forty per cent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents think the U.S. is providing too much support to Ukraine, up from just nine per cent who thought that last March. Over all, the share of adults in both parties who believe the U.S. is doing too much for Ukraine has gone up nineteen points since the war began, a year ago. On Fox News, Tucker Carlson harps on this theme night after night. In the House, vocal McCarthy supporter Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has decried “the neo-Nazis in Ukraine,” blustered, after the G.O.P. won the House in November, that “not another penny” would go to their cause.
And speaking of bluster, there’s Donald Trump, who has lately grown louder and louder on the subject of a Russian war that he initially praised as an act of “genius” by Vladimir Putin. In recent days, as he opens his official campaign to return to the White House, Trump has trashed Biden’s handling of the war and criticized the decision to send the tanks. He’s labelled Americans “suckers” for providing the bulk of aid to Ukraine. He’s insisted he could negotiate an end to the conflict within twenty-four hours. He calls Biden “weak” while opposing Biden’s efforts to send the weapons that make Ukraine stronger.
In a campaign e-mail this week, Trump even seemed to suggest that the American tanks—which will take many months to reach Ukraine—were somehow already responsible both for destroying Ukrainian cities and putting the world on the brink of nuclear war. “Joe Biden is doing what he said ten months ago would cause World War III, sending American tanks into Ukraine,” the statement quoted Trump as saying. “Such a tragic waste of human life, when you look at all that’s happening there. Those cities are obliterated. First, come the nukes. Then, come the tanks.”
The statement, like a lot of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago stylings, makes no sense if you try to actually understand what he is saying: Does he mean that nukes will be used in Ukraine, or perhaps that they already have been? How is it that the tanks are going to roll in after the nuclear apocalypse? It’s all so confusing. An accompanying video from Trump has the tanks coming first, then the nukes. Whatever.