Congressman Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a “thug” and said the Ukrainian government is “incredibly evil,” in comments contradicting bipartisan public support for Ukraine after its invasion by Russia.
“Remember that Zelensky is a thug,” Cawthorn told supporters at a recent event in North Carolina. “Remember that the Ukrainian government is incredibly corrupt, and it is incredibly evil, and it has been pushing woke ideologies.”
Cawthorne’s comments were first reported Wednesday night in a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Republican strategist Karl Rove.
In the Op-Ed, Rove said Cawthorn and other Republican candidates are “echoing Mr. Trump’s isolationism, and Kremlin apologetics are out of sync with GOP voters.”
Cawthorn responded to the criticism of his statement in a recent post on Twitter.
Propaganda is being used to entice America into another war.
I do not want Americans dying because emotions pushed us into a conflict.https://t.co/1IWJ33Tgqd
— Rep. Madison Cawthorn (@RepCawthorn) March 10, 2022
On Thursday, Cawthorn also tweeted that he felt Biden was not a deterrent to Putin’s recent invasion of Ukraine.
“It should shock no one that Putin wasn’t afraid of Sleepy Joe,” he said.
Cawthorne’s comments and opinions stand in contrast to the public views of many lawmakers and officials. In the two weeks since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, elected officials and celebrities alike have praised Zelenskyy as a hero.
Senator Mitt Romney has publicly praised the Ukrainian president, calling him a hero for standing up for democracy.
I join the world in awe of true heroes: the courageous President Zelensky, the brave Ukrainian soldiers, the citizen armies, the mothers cradling frightened children, and the journalists risking their lives to bring us truth. God bless them and God bless us to never forget.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) February 27, 2022
During the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Michael Keaton said, “We have fellow actor in Zelensky who deserves some credit tonight for fighting the fight.”
U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley of Illinois told ABC News that when Zelenskyy talks, “I don’t think you can sit there with human emotions and not be moved, not be motivated,” Quigley said.
“If you look at history, George Washington kept our revolution alive by staying alive,” Waltz said.
As the war in Ukraine continues, opinions of Zelenskyy around the world will continue to develop.