- The Washington Times - Monday, February 21, 2022

American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp hit back at a former Republican lawmaker who accused Mr. Schlapp of being cozy with Russian President Vladimir Putin over this weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference line-up.

Former Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois, a prominent Republican critic of former President Donald Trump, had said Monday that Mr. Schlapp’s announcement that former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaii Democrat, would speak at the annual conference in Florida goes beyond the pale.

“At this point, I’m actually expecting @mschlapp to announce tomorrow that Putin will be speaking at @CPAC this weekend. I’m serious,” Mr. Walsh tweeted.

The ACU chair replied that Mr. Walsh was the one who shared the blame for Russia’s threatening behavior.

“Joe, you helped Biden and now you own Putin’s treachery and Biden’s weakness. At CPAC we will put the opposition to Biden all back together again minus you,” Mr. Schlapp said

Ms. Gabbard often upset her party leaders over stances related to Syria and was denounced by Hillary Clinton and other Democrats as Russia’s preferred candidate during the 2020 election cycle.

SEE ALSO: Former Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard to speak at CPAC

The party also denounced her as a potential third-party spoiler who’d aid Mr. Trump. Ms. Gabbard did not run for president on a third-party ticket.

The Hawaii Democrat went after Mrs. Clinton following these accusations in October 2019, calling her in a tweet “the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long.”

Ms. Gabbard is expected to address the CPAC audience on Saturday night at the annual Ronald Reagan Dinner.

• Kerry Picket can be reached at kpicket@washingtontimes.com.

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