A CNN commentator Thursday accused the Republican Party of making its platform more “pro-Russia” — by aligning itself with official policy of then-President Barack Obama’s administration.
Only the commentator, New Yorker magazine Washington correspondent Ryan Lizza, never gave viewers that context.
“Remember this was after the Republican convention, where the Republican platform was changed be more pro-Russia, to take out of the platform the idea that we should be arming the Ukrainians.”
The remark came during a panel discussion on the cable network’s show, “The Lead,” with Jake Tapper. Lizza responded to reports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions met twice last year with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak as a senator but failed to disclose that to the Senate Judiciary Committee during his confirmation hearing.
Lizza acknowledged that it is not unusual for senators to meet with ambassadors, but he questioned why these meetings would not be front and center Sessions’ mind.
“Remember this was after the Republican convention, where the Republican platform was changed be more pro-Russia, to take out of the platform the idea that we should be arming the Ukrainians,” he said.
It is true that the platform dropped an explicit call to arm Ukraine, which has been fighting Kremlin-backed rebels since Russia invaded the country and annexed Crimea. But the language maintains a call for “appropriate assistance” to the Ukrainian military.
But Lizza did not mention that the Obama administration also steadfastly refused to arm Ukraine. GOP hawks, in fact, have criticized Obama for that. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said during a CNN town hall Wednesday that Trump should take that step.
It is worth noting that the Democratic platform also stops short of calling for arms to Ukraine. It condemns Russian aggression and vows to protect America’s North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies. But also insists that the United States maintain a relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“We will make it clear to Putin that we are prepared to cooperate with him when it is in our interest — as we did on reducing nuclear stockpiles, ensuring Iran could not obtain a nuclear weapon, sanctioning North Korea, and resupplying our troops in Afghanistan — but we will not hesitate to stand up to Russian aggression,” the platform states.
Compare that to the GOP platform. Can it fairly be described as pro-Russian?
“We support maintaining and, if warranted, increasing sanctions, together with our allies, against Russia unless and until Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are fully restored,” the platform states. “We also support providing appropriate assistance to the armed forces of Ukraine and greater coordination with NATO defense planning.”
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