The House’s No. 3 Republican has doubled down on previous criticism of President Joe Biden’s handling of the Russia-Ukraine situation after Moscow’s troops invaded on Thursday.
Shortly after news of the invasion broke, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) put out a statement noting that America’s adversaries have been “assessing and measuring Joe Biden’s leadership on the world stage,” she said in a statement, and “he has abysmally failed on every metric.”
“After just one year of a weak, feckless, and unfit President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief, the world is less safe. Rather than peace through strength, we are witnessing Joe Biden’s foreign policy of war through weakness,” Stefanik noted.
“For the past year, our adversaries around the world have been assessing and measuring Joe Biden’s leadership on the world stage, and he has abysmally failed on every metric,” she continued.
“From kinetic and deadly attacks on our allies and partners, to the catastrophic withdrawal and surrender in Afghanistan, to the cyber attacks impeding American industry and infrastructure, to today’s Russian invasion of Ukraine, Joe Biden and his Administration have failed America and the world,” the New York Republican noted further.
“I join the American people in praying for the safety of innocent Ukrainians as they endure an unwarranted and unjustified invasion by a gutless, bloodthirsty, authoritarian dictator. Vladimir Putin is a war criminal and deranged thug. We must stand with democracies under assault,” she said.
Stefanik then explained what Biden should do in order to halt Russian aggression.
“If peace is to prevail, the United States and NATO must respond with the only language Putin understands — strength. It’s long past time President Biden took swift and devastating action to cripple the Russian economy and impose severe irrecoverable consequences on the corrupt regime of Vladimir Putin,” she wrote.
Stefanik was taken to task by critics who suggested she was more comfortable attacking the U.S. president than the Russian leader responsible for ordering the invasion.
ABC News chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl said of the fiery statement that Stefanik prefers to “spend more time attacking the American president than Vladimir Putin.”
Former GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock joined in on the criticism of her former colleague, calling Stefanik’s statement “absolutely disgraceful and childish.”
But the chair of the House Republican Conference doubled down in a statement to the outlet.
“The mainstream media Democrat stenographers and Russia hoaxers want more? Just one month ago, President Biden and his administration served as Putin and the Kremlin’s lobbyist when they lobbied AGAINST the GOP’s Russia sanctions bill,” she pointed out.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also appeared to take a swipe at Biden earlier Friday as he appealed for the West to help his country fend off the Russian invasion.
“This morning we are defending our state alone. Like yesterday, the world’s most powerful forces are watching from afar,” he said. “Did yesterday’s sanctions convince Russia? We hear in our sky and see on our earth that this was not enough.”
“We are left alone in defense of our state. Who is ready to fight with us? Honestly – I do not see such. Who is ready to guarantee Ukraine’s accession to NATO? Honestly, everyone is afraid. … I tell all the partners of our state: now is an important moment – the fate of our country is being decided. I ask them: are you with us? They answer that they are with us. But they are not ready to take us to the Alliance. Today, I asked the twenty-seven leaders of Europe whether Ukraine will be in NATO. I asked directly. Everyone is afraid. They do not answer,” the Ukrainian president said.
“And we are not afraid of anything. We are not afraid to defend our state. We are not afraid of Russia. We are not afraid to talk to Russia. We are not afraid to say everything about security guarantees for our state. We are not afraid to talk about neutral status. We are not in NATO now. But the main thing – what security guarantees will we have? And what specific countries will give them?” he added.