Graham says Tuberville is an "outlier" on Putin and Ukraine


Washington — Sen. Lindsey Graham said his Republican colleague Sen. Tommy Tuberville is an “outlier” within the party when it comes to his stance on Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine.

“Sen. Tuberville’s analysis really misses what Putin is all about,” Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said on “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “He’s an outlier, I think, in the Republican Party. I like him personally.”

Tuberville, an Alabama Republican, said on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast last week that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is a “dictator” and “not a constitutional president,” while suggesting that the U.S. shouldn’t be backing him and downplaying Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intentions in Ukraine.

“He doesn’t want Ukraine, he doesn’t want Europe,” Tuberville said of Putin. “He’s got enough land of his own. He just wants to make sure that he does not have United States weapons in Ukraine pointing at Moscow.”

Graham said Tuberville’s comments represent “him and him alone,” not the GOP at large.

“If you spent 15 minutes studying Putin and what he wants, he wants to recreate the Russian Empire. He’s not gonna stop in Ukraine,” Graham said. “It’s not about NATO, it’s not about American weapons in Ukraine, it’s about a megalomaniac wanting to create the Russian Empire by force of arms. If you don’t stop him, there goes Taiwan.”

The South Carolina Republican emphasized the importance of backing Ukraine, saying he supports the U.S. training Ukrainian forces inside of Ukraine, which Zelenskyy recently requested. Graham added that “it’s now time to give them the F-16s, let them fly the planes, long-range artillery to hit targets inside of Russia.”

“I think this summer, Ukraine will regain military momentum,” he said.

Earlier this year, Congress approved a foreign aid package that included support for Ukraine that had been long-delayed amid partisan disputes. On Friday, President Biden publicly apologized to Zelenskyy for the delay in military assistance that allowed Russia to make gains on the battlefield.

Graham admitted “we did lose momentum” in training Ukrainians with the delay in the weapons package, but “now we’ve got a chance to reset this war.” And he stressed that Ukraine’s success is in American interest. 

If we help Ukraine now, they can become the best business partner we ever dreamed of,” Graham said, citing mineral assets in Ukraine. “This is a very big deal, how Ukraine ends. Let’s help them win a war we can’t afford to lose.”



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