Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) on Wednesday blamed Russia’s annexation of Crimea on Republicans, though the invasion took place on President Barack Obama’s watch.
Pelosi slammed President Donald Trump and Republicans for their alleged inability to face Russian aggression—and tied them to President Barack Obama’s appeasement of Moscow.
“You just described, not only for the president, but the Republicans in Congress, dereliction of duty,” Pelosi told MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace. “Undermining our own elections, undermining our commitment to NATO, giving away the store, the base, in Syria. The list goes on and on. Ignoring the annexation of Crimea, the invasion of eastern Ukraine. The list goes on and on.”
In 2014, the Obama administration took heat from Republicans for its failure to provide defense assistance to Ukraine when Russian president Vladimir Putin led a campaign to annex the Crimean peninsula. The Trump administration changed course on this policy, selling arms to Ukraine for its defense against Russia.
Pelosi was addressing reports that Russia may have paid bounties for U.S. servicemen killed in Afghanistan. She said the reports are evidence that Trump “lets the Russians get away with murder,” but national security adviser Robert O’Brien said Trump had not been briefed about the bounties because intelligence officials had not found corroboration.
“The president was not briefed, because at the time of these allegations, they were uncorroborated,” O’Brien said on Fox News. “And as a result, the president’s career CIA briefer decided not to brief him.”
Long before Trump became president, Republicans were lambasting Obama for not providing military aid to the Ukrainians as they faced down Russia, with then-senator John McCain (R., Ariz.) calling U.S. inaction “shameful.”
Pelosi voted with most of her House colleagues to affirm Ukraine’s territorial integrity in March of 2014, but she did not publicly push back on the Obama administration for its inaction against Putin.