McConnell on ‘America’s Newsroom’: Biden’s ‘cut and run’ from Afghanistan sent a message to Putin

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin has always been a “killer,” but he’s recently been emboldened to attack Ukraine after seeing America’s withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

On “America’s Newsroom” Wednesday, McConnell said Putin and other world leaders took a message from President Biden’s decision on Afghanistan.

“I think that precipitous withdrawal from Afghanistan was a message to people like Putin that America was rethinking our forward-leaning position in the world. And I don’t think if we cut and run in Afghanistan, Putin would have tried this at all,” said McConnell. 

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“There should be no confusion about Vladimir Putin, and there’s been some confusion lately,” McConnell told co-host Bill Hemmer. “He’s a thug. He’s a killer. He’s been on the rampage, and this will not end well for him.” 

McConnell, R-Ky., touted Ukrainian President Zelenskyy’s leadership, noting that his strength has helped to unify NATO.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stands alongside other government officials in a video posted to social media Friday vowing to defend the country from a Russian invasion. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stands alongside other government officials in a video posted to social media Friday vowing to defend the country from a Russian invasion. 
(Armed Forces of Ukraine)

“The demonstration of incredible bravery and this stunningly impressive president is the reason the rest of the world is rallying to the cause,” he said.

“Vladimir Putin’s invasion has done more to unify NATO than any president of either party has been able to accomplish in all these years.”

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McConnell assured co-host Dana Perino that Congress will approve supplemental aid and funding for Ukraine quickly.

“They need our help, and I think there’s going to be total support for that,” McConnell said.

The issue of oil production has become increasingly prevalent as Russia is a major exporter. McConnell called for a pivot back to policies that increased domestic production and allowed the U.S. to become energy independent during the Trump administration.

“This doesn’t require any legislation,” McConnell explained. “All the president has to do is just change.”

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“The president could, with the stroke of the pen, get us back in the production business so that not only could we meet our own needs, which we did as recently as 2019, but export to Europe as well.”

President Joe Biden delivers his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol, Tuesday, March 1, 2022, in Washington. (Julia Nikhinson/Pool via AP)

President Joe Biden delivers his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol, Tuesday, March 1, 2022, in Washington. (Julia Nikhinson/Pool via AP)

McConnell predicted a “very, very tough” election season for Democrats this fall after hearing President Biden’s State of the Union address. He suggested that Congress focus on issues that can garner bipartisan support in the coming months.

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“Where did he go wrong? He ran as a moderate, but as soon as he got elected, he signed up for Bernie Sanders’ agenda.”

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