Sen. Tom Cotton on Tuesday slammed President Biden’s handling of the Ukraine crisis, accusing him of responding with “timidity and half measures” to Russia‘s invasion.
The Arkansas Republican’s searing criticism in an op-ed for Fox News marks a shift among some Republicans who previously rallied behind the White House but in recent days have intensified their critiques of Mr. Biden’s approach to the crisis. In the early stages of the war, Republicans purposely measured their rhetoric, directing their comments toward Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Mr. Cotton’s op-ed shows at least some Republicans are no longer willing to put on a united front and will blast Mr. Biden.
In the op-ed, Mr. Cotton slammed the administration for nixing Poland’s offer to send fighter jets to Ukraine through a U.S. air base in Germany. The Pentagon argued the move could spark a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia, something Mr. Biden has consistently ruled out.
As Mr. Cotton sees it, the president “cowed” to “hollow threats” from Moscow.
“Biden’s fighter fiasco is only the latest example of his timidity in the face of Russian aggression,” he wrote.
“At every step, Joe Biden has allowed America’s response to be dictated from Moscow out of a fanciful fear of provocation. The wages of Biden’s weakness are Russian tanks rolling through Eastern Europe,” he continued.
The White House in recent days has become increasingly defensive about its response to Russia. On Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki insisted Mr. Biden was forcefully countering Russian aggression without drawing the U.S. into a third world war.
“I would say at this moment in time, we have hardly been sitting on the sidelines. We have been leading this effort around the world to respond to every step and every escalatory step that President Putin and the Russians are taking,” Ms. Psaki told reporters.
“The steps that the president has taken and led the world in taking [have] essentially led the Russian financial system to the brink of collapse,” she said.
Ms. Psaki also vowed that the U.S. and its allies would respond with “severe consequences” if Russia uses chemical weapons in Ukraine.