Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) spoke at the Munich Security Conference on Friday morning about NATO and support for Ukraine. McConnell asked Europeans to look to him and Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), as well as top Republicans in the House and Senate,
“Republican leaders are committed to a strong trans-Atlantic alliance. We are committed to helping Ukraine. Not because of vague moral reasoning or abstractions like the so-called ‘rules-based international order’. Rather, because America’s own core national interests are at stake. Because our security is intertwined and our economies are intertwined.” McConnell appears to be trying to box in McCarthy—who didn’t go to Munich—from abroad in Ukraine.
McCarthy said there would be no blank check for Ukraine in the Republican-led House of Representatives.
Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), former Speaker Rep. The conference has a large bi-partisan US delegation led by Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and about fifty lawmakers. According to Reuters. In contrast, on Thursday incumbent Speaker McCarthy led a Republican delegation to visit the US-Mexico border in Tuscon, Arizona.
McConnell is making a strong push to persuade swing Republican and GOP voters to continue strong support and funding for Ukraine. He spoke on the Senate floor Thursday and appeared on Fox News where he said defeating Russia in Ukraine was “the single most important thing in the world right now.”
Mitch McConnell on Fox News: “I’m going to try to help convince the American people that defeating the Russians in Ukraine is the single most important thing happening in the world right now … There should be bipartisan support for it.” pic.twitter.com/BJoOcy17iL
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 16, 2023
Part of McConnell’s Senate floor speech Thursday in which he summarized his appeal to the United States and NATO to increase military spending in preparation for threats of war with Russia and China:
“In the short term, both America and our allies must serve our own interests by investing in weapons and weapons systems that will help Ukraine repel aggression.
“But this new chapter of pragmatism and determination cannot end with Ukraine. Because the long-term threats and challenges we face go deeper.
“A nuclear-armed Russia poses a threat to the United States and NATO.
“And China poses an even greater threat to American interests and our allies.
“These challenges are multifaceted, they are global, and they are only growing.
“So I look forward to talking with our allies in Munich – both about America’s determination to lead… and Europe’s shouldering more responsibility.”
Excerpts from McConnell’s speech at the Munich Security Conference as prepared for delivery:
“Well, good morning, friends.
“Let me start by saying: I am a conservative Republican from America, and I come in peace! Reports about the death of Republican support for strong American leadership in the world have been greatly exaggerated.
“The leaders of my party overwhelmingly support a strong, engaged America and a strong trans-Atlantic alliance. Don’t look at Twitter, look at the people in power. Look at me and Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Look at the top Republicans on the Senate and House committees that handle the armed services, foreign affairs, appropriations and intelligence. Look at the former secretaries of state, defense secretaries, national security advisers and national intelligence directors of previous Republican administrations.
“Republican leaders are committed to a strong trans-Atlantic alliance. We are committed to helping Ukraine. Not because of vague moral reasoning or abstractions like the so-called ‘rules-based international order’. Rather, because America’s own core national interests are at stake. Because our security is intertwined and our economy is intertwined.
“Popular support for a strong and engaged NATO alliance will only survive if leaders across the alliance clearly and precisely explain to their own citizens how their countries’ peace and prosperity hang in the balance.
“This is the case that top Republicans are making on a daily basis in Washington and to the American public. Frankly, some of us see this case made more often and more clearly than our own president.
…”Now in my view, America needs to do more to improve our defense capabilities: We need to streamline our overly bureaucratic arms procurement process. We need to make significant investments — quickly — in critical munitions, transformative capabilities and the industrial base to deliver them.
“To have an arsenal of democracy, we must also reform the way we sell weapons to our allies and partners. Our foreign military sales process should not be so painfully slow or weak to overcome political ambitions. These investments and reforms will help America continue to support Ukraine, rebuild our own reserves, and modernize our forces for greater challenges.
“While America is raising our game, our European allies need to raise your game as well. If I am a true friend, I owe you my frankness. If you want to help Ukraine win; If you want NATO to emerge stronger from this conflict; And if you want sustained political support in America for our engagement and investment in maintaining a whole, free and peaceful Europe… then America’s friends on this continent must reflect the determination and commitment you want to see from us. “
The Wall Street Journal’s Natalie Andrews reported that McConnell used the line looking at her and McCarthy and not Twitter about Ukraine support, “McConnell in Munich: “Leaders in my party overwhelmingly support a strong, engaged America and a strong trans-Atlantic alliance. Don’t look at Twitter, look at the people in power. Look at me and Speaker Kevin McCarthy… Republican leaders… committed to helping Ukraine”
McConnell in Munich: “The leaders of my party overwhelmingly support a strong, engaged America and a strong trans-Atlantic alliance. Don’t look at Twitter, look at the people in power. Look at me and Speaker Kevin McCarthy… Republican leaders… committed to helping Ukraine”
— Natalie Andrews (@natalieandrews) February 17, 2023