May 28, 2024

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Mitch McConnell blames Tucker Carlson and Trump for delaying aid to Ukraine

Mitch McConnell blames Tucker Carlson and Trump for delaying aid to Ukraine

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell blamed former President Donald Trump and former Fox News host Tucker Carlson for the six-month delay in the $95 billion foreign aid package passed by Congress this week.

“It appears that our presidential nominee does not want us to do anything at all,” McConnell said at a press conference on Tuesday. “It took months to work our way through it.”

McConnell also said Carlson's February interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin complicated party members' support for the package.

“The demonization of Ukraine was started by Tucker Carlson, who in my opinion ended up where he should have been all along, which was interviewing Vladimir Putin,” McConnell said. “He had a massive audience, which convinced a lot of rank-and-file Republicans that this was probably a mistake.”

Earlier this year, McConnell said Trump made passing an aid package for Ukraine “doubly challenging” after he told members of Congress that the United States had done enough to support its allies. However, McConnell added that he felt Congress had moved beyond what he described as an isolationist movement by approving the $95 billion package on Tuesday.

On Wednesday morning, President Joe Biden announced that he had signed the $95 billion foreign aid bill.

“It's a good day for America, it's a good day for Europe, it's a good day for world peace,” Biden said.

The Republican senator from Kentucky has been a vocal advocate for U.S. military aid to Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on Feb. 24, 2022. In the past two years, he and Biden have worked together to convince some Republican senators to approve aid to Ukraine as their support has waned. The package approved on Tuesday includes $60 billion for Ukraine.

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“This is an important day for America and a very important day for freedom-loving nations around the world,” McConnell said Tuesday.

more: Aid package for Ukraine and Israel heads to Biden as Congress ends months-long conflict

The foreign aid package approved Tuesday was approved by a bipartisan vote of 79-18. It also includes $17 billion for Israel, $9 billion for humanitarian aid in Gaza and elsewhere, and $8 billion for allies in the Indo-Pacific region.

Rachel Barber is a 2024 elections fellow at USA TODAY, focusing on politics and education. Follow her on X, formerly Twitter, as @rachelbarber_