Subway has struggled in the year since it hired soccer star and left-wing activist Megan Rapinoe as a national spokeswoman, with hundreds of stores closing across the nation.
The fast-food chain — whose best-known spokesman, Jared Fogle, went to jail for child pornography possession in 2015 — hired Rapinoe as a pitchwoman early last year.
One commercial featured the purple-haired anthem protester knocking food out of a man’s hand with a soccer ball.
Hiring Rapinoe didn’t help the company’s fortunes, however: In 2021, 1,043 Subway locations closed, the New York Post reported Thursday.
The chain already had been losing stores in the two years before she became the chain’s pitchwoman.
At the height of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, Subway lost 1,609 stores. In 2019, it lost 999, the Post reported.
Rapinoe’s left-wing political activism, especially her kneeling in protest during the national anthem, made some franchise owners and customers very unhappy with the chain’s decision to make her the face of the brand.
The soccer star was one of the first to follow the example of then-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who sat and then kneeled for the anthem to protest racial injustice in August 2016.
“Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties. It was something small that I could do and something that I plan to keep doing in the future and hopefully spark some meaningful conversation around it,” Rapinoe told American Soccer Now in September of that year.
“It’s important to have white people stand in support of people of color on this. We don’t need to be the leading voice, of course, but standing in support of them is something that’s really powerful,” she added.
Some franchise owners complained about Rapinoe as she and most of her teammates on the U.S. Women’s National Team protested in advance of the Tokyo Olympics, where they finished a disappointing third.
“Spending our money to make a political statement is completely and totally out of bounds,” one Arizona franchisee said last July on a discussion forum hosted by the North American Association of Subway Franchisees, according to the Post.
Another location owner shared that customers had boycotted the store over Rapinoe.
Yet another franchise owner wrote that Subway needed to stop running the national commercial featuring the divisive athlete.
“The ad should be pulled and done with. It gets tiring apologizing,” the person said, according to the Post.
Until she's dropped, Subway gets none of my business.
— Alonzo T. McZephyr (@wlmtx) August 7, 2021
Overall, Subway has shrunk across the nation by 22 percent since 2016, the outlet reported.
In comparison with other fast-food chains, this is drastic.
Overall in 2021, McDonald’s lost 247 locations in the U.S. — 2 percent of its total. From 2019 through 2021, the burger chain lost 3.4 percent of its American locations, which is small compared with Subway’s 15 percent loss in that time.
A Subway representative told the Post that the chain is “making strategic enhancements to our vast footprint and making sure our restaurants are in the best format and locations” and that it is “already seeing our efforts pay off with profitability per restaurant increasing as our restaurants begin to operate at a higher level and with more efficiency.”
Hillary Clinton personally signed off on sharing since-debunked Trump-Russia allegations related to Alfa-Bank with the media during the 2016 election, according to her campaign manager.
Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook testified Friday he was “briefed about the Alfa-Bank issue first” by Clinton campaign general counsel Marc Elias in the summer of 2016. He said the campaign leadership quickly had a meeting about whether to share the information with the media, which they decided to do. Also present in the meeting were campaign chairman John Podesta, communications director Jennifer Palmieri, and policy adviser Jake Sullivan (who is now President Joe Biden’s national security adviser), according to Mook.
He said that “we discussed it and then made that decision” and “we did” decide to share the claims with a reporter. When asked by a prosecutor on special counsel John Durham’s team about the highest level of approval for pushing the Alfa-Bank claims to the press, Mook replied that “John and I were involved,” but “I discussed it with Hillary as well” after the campaign team had discussed it. Mook said that he framed it to Clinton as: “Hey, you know, we have this, and we want to share it with a reporter.” Mook added, “She agreed to that.”
When pressed by Durham prosecutor Andrew DeFilippis on what else Clinton said, Mook replied that “all I remember is that she agreed with the decision” to share the Alfa-Bank claims with the media. Mook said that “she thought we made the right decision.”
Mook said he couldn’t recall “the exact sequence of events” on whether Clinton was giving final approval or if she was approving of something the campaign had already done.
The Clinton campaign manager said he, Sullivan, Podesta, and Palmieri were all part of the discussion on whether and how to share it with the media, and he said his “hope was that they were gonna run it down and it would be accurate or substantive and then they would report it.” He admitted, “I don’t recall ever asking a reporter to hold off on this.”
“I recall it being a member of our press staff,” Mook said when asked how the Alfa-Bank claims were pushed to the media. “We authorized a staff member to share it with the media.”
Mook admitted he was not confident in the veracity of the Alfa-Bank claims when the decision was made to share them with the press, but claimed the media would help vet the information. DeFilippis asked if the campaign was pleased the allegations were published, and Mook replied, “We wanted the American people to know about it, yeah.”
Democratic cybersecurity lawyer Michael Sussmann was indicted in September for allegedly concealing his clients, Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and “Tech Executive-1,” former Neustar executive Rodney Joffe, from FBI General Counsel James Baker in September 2016 when he pushed since-debunked claims of a secret back channel between the Trump Organization and Russia’s Alfa-Bank. Sussmann has pleaded not guilty.
Mook was called as a defense witness on Friday.
The Durham indictment said that “on or about September 15, 2016, Campaign Lawyer-1 exchanged emails with the Clinton Campaign’s campaign manager, communications director, and foreign policy advisor concerning the Russian Bank-1 allegations that Sussmann had recently shared with Reporter-1.” Durham wrote that “Campaign Lawyer-1 billed his time for this correspondence” to the Clinton campaign, with the billing entry of “email correspondence with [name of foreign policy advisor], [name of campaign manager], [name of communications director] re: [Russian Bank-1] Article.”
Her campaign manager was Mook, her communications director was Palmieri, her foreign policy adviser was Sullivan, and her top lawyer was Elias.
Elias hired the opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which in turn hired British ex-spy Christopher Steele in 2016. Elias has testified he was aware of Fusion’s plans to have Steele brief reporters on his anti-Trump research during the 2016 contest, met with Steele during the 2016 contest, and periodically briefed the campaign about the findings from Fusion and Steele. Sussmann also met with Steele in 2016 and pushed certain Alfa-Bank claims to him, which Steele, in turn, pushed to the U.S. government.
On Halloween 2016, Clinton tweeted, “Computer scientists have apparently uncovered a covert server linking the Trump Organization to a Russian-based bank.” She included a lengthy statement from Sullivan titled “New Report Exposing Trump’s Secret Line of Communication to Russia.”
“This could be the most direct link yet between Donald Trump and Moscow,” Sullivan claimed in part, adding, “This secret hotline may be the key to unlocking the mysteries of Trump’s ties to Russia.”
“We can only assume that federal authorities will now explore this direct connection between Trump and Russia as part of their existing probe into Russia’s meddling in our elections,” Sullivan said. He continued pushing the Alfa-Bank claims on TV in 2017.
The judge initially ruled he wouldn’t let the Clinton tweet be admitted as evidence, but the jury was shown it on Friday during testimony by Mook. The judge indicated that the version of the tweet admitted into evidence would include redactions, including the part of the tweet hinting at a federal investigation.
The Durham team has argued that Sussmann’s meeting with the FBI was motivated by his desire to generate an “October surprise” that could sink Trump’s candidacy.
DeFilippis repeatedly asked what Mook thought an “October surprise” was. He said that “it’s when you have a piece of opposition research that is so damning that the opponent doesn’t have time to respond and they lose the election.” Mook said, “The idea is you have damning information about your opponent, you give it to the media, and then they run with it.” He also said that “I think it’s a bit of a myth” and “a bit of a fantasy.”
The prosecutor asked Mook if he believed the Alfa-Bank claims were damning, and he replied, “It was certainly alarming and suspicious.” DeFilippis asked Mook to read when the tweet was published, and he said, “Well, it says here, October 31, 2016.”
As a bit of damage control, Sussmann lawyer Michael Bosworth asked Mook for an example of an October surprise, and he replied, “I can’t think of a time when it’s happened in my career.” Mook said he never thought of the Alfa-Bank story as an October surprise.
When asked if the Clinton campaign conversation about sharing the Alfa-Bank claims with the media was about sharing it with the New York Times in September 2016 or with Slate in October 2016, Mook replied, “I don’t recall.”
Franklin Foer of Slate reported on Halloween 2016 that researchers found “a sustained relationship between a server registered to the Trump Organization and two servers registered to an entity called Alfa-Bank.” Eric Lichtblau of the New York Times then published a report stating, “The FBI ultimately concluded that there could be an innocuous explanation, like a marketing email or spam.”
Foer and Lichtblau both emailed with Fusion about the Alfa-Bank claims in 2016, according to records released by Durham.
At the request of the defense lawyer, Mook read the entire Slate article, looking for a reference to an FBI investigation, and he said, “I don’t see the FBI mentioned.”
Mook testified that he “deferred” to Perkins on legal advice as well as on “overseas” activities, but he claimed, “I definitely did not delegate to Perkins Coie to do politics. To do press.” When asked whether Perkins needed permission from him to go to law enforcement, Mook said that “it depends” but he would’ve “expected” for permission to be sought from him.
He added that “I’m not aware” of Clinton approving the campaign to go to the FBI and said, “I don’t know why she would.”
Baker testified in detail about Sussmann’s alleged lie this week. The FBI’s former top lawyer also told the court how the defendant’s allegations created an immediate sense of urgency inside the highest levels of the FBI to investigate the Trump-Russia back channel claims, how the Alfa-Bank claims were quickly dismissed as baseless within the FBI, and how the bureau worries about reporters writing stories based on the existence of FBI investigations in situations in which the press isn’t confident about the allegations and so uses the existence of an investigation as a hook.
Two From Secret Service Sent Home After Incident In South Korea Just As Biden Arrives
As President Joe Biden was landing in South Korea early Friday, two members of the Secret Service were being sent home after a booze-fueled incident that involved local police, according to a report.
The employees, described by ABC News as an agent and an armed physical security specialist, went bar-hopping after dinner and the agent wound up in a confrontation with a taxi driver, ABC News reported.
“The Secret Service is aware of an off-duty incident involving two employees which may constitute potential policy violations,” agency spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement. “The individuals will be immediately returned back to their post of duty and placed on administrative leave. There was no impact to the upcoming trip. We have very strict protocols and policies for all employees and we hold ourselves to the highest professional standards. Given this is an active administrative personnel matter, we are not in a position to comment further.”
Biden landed early Friday in Pyeongtaek for his first presidential visit to Asia, beginning a five-day tour aimed at bolstering the White House’s economic commitment to the region. Biden’s first remarks in South Korea called for final passage of a bill meant to boost U.S. competitiveness against China that House and Senate negotiators are currently negotiating.
The three-day visit also comes as North Korea has become increasingly belligerent, testing missiles and reportedly refusing to talk with the Biden administration. North Korea conducted two ICBM tests earlier this year and tunneling activity indicates preparation for a nuclear test, according to a report from CNBC.
The agent involved in the argument with the taxi driver was slated to be interviewed by local police before returning to the U.S.
The Secret Service has been involved in other embarrassing and high-profile scandals over the past decade. In a 2012 incident, several were investigated for drinking and soliciting prostitutes while doing advance work for a trip by then-President Barack Obama to Cartagena, Colombia.
Six agents resigned or retired and four had their security clearances revoked, according to a 2013 report by the Homeland Security Department inspector general.
In another incident in 2015, two agents were ‘likely’ impaired by alcohol when they drove a government vehicle through a secure White House area, the inspector general found.
The Secret Service, which provides protection to 33 members of President Biden’s administration and family, as well as former presidents and members of their families, has reportedly been plagued by staffing and training problems in recent years.
Elon Musk Announces New ‘Hardcore Litigation’ Team Made Up Of ‘Streetfighters’: ‘There Will Be Blood’
Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced on Friday afternoon that the company is creating a new “hardcore litigation department” that will directly execute lawsuits against opponents.
The statement from Musk comes after the company was removed from S&P 500 ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) Index because “because of issues including claims of racial discrimination and crashes linked to its autopilot vehicles,” Reuters reported. “Factors contributing to its departure from the index included Tesla’s lack of published details related to its low carbon strategy or business conduct codes, said Margaret Dorn, S&P Dow Jones Indices’ head of ESG indices for North America.”
“Tesla is building a hardcore litigation department where we directly initiate & execute lawsuits,” Musk tweeted. “The team will report directly to me.”
Musk said that he commits to never seek victory in a just case against Tesla, even if the company is likely to win, and that he will never surrender a case against the company that is unjust, even if the company is likely to lose.
“Looking for hardcore streetfighters, not white-shoe lawyers like Perkins or Cooley who thrive on corruption,” Musk continued. “There will be blood.”
Musk was in the news this week after a story broke yesterday about an incident that allegedly happened at one of his other companies, SpaceX, where a female flight attendant accused him of sexual misconduct.
Business Insider reported that a flight attendant who worked as a contractor for SpaceX’s corporate jet fleet accused Musk of exposing himself to her several years ago, touching her, and offering to buy her a horse in exchange for an erotic massage.
“For the record, those wild accusations are utterly untrue,” Musk said on Twitter. “But I have a challenge to this liar who claims their friend saw me ‘exposed’ – describe just one thing, anything at all (scars, tattoos, …) that isn’t known by the public. She won’t be able to do so, because it never happened.”
Musk said that the “friend” in the story who reportedly gave details of the alleged incident to Business Insider “is a far left activist/actress in LA with a major political axe to grind.”
The report said that the company settled the claim for $250,000.
The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro responded to the story by writing: “That amount of money for a settlement of this sort is absolutely de minimis, and everyone who understands corporate law knows this.”
“In other words, when you sue one of the most valuable people on earth and get a settlement of $250,000, that’s nearly always just the guy getting rid of something he considers a nuisance, not an admission of guilt,” Shapiro added.
Musk has warned repeatedly on Twitter in recent days that “political attacks on me will escalate dramatically in coming months” in response to him buying Twitter. “Watch their dirty tricks campaign against me unfold,” Musk added.
Judge Blocks Biden Administration From Ending Title 42
A federal judge on Friday blocked the Biden administration from ending Title 42, a Trump-era border policy, days before it was scheduled to lapse.
U.S. District Judge Robert Summerhays of the Western District of Louisiana granted a request for a preliminary injunction made by the attorneys general of over 20 states on Friday, according to Fox News. The attorneys general sued the federal government over its plans to end Title 42, claiming the Biden administration had violated federal rules in killing the health policy.
Title 42 is a health policy that has been in place since March 2020 and authorizes Border Patrol agents to reject migrants at the border and turn them back without processing their asylum claims. The policy was used nearly 100,000 times in April alone to turn away migrants during a record-setting month for migrant encounters at the U.S. southern border.
Critics say that scrapping the health policy will lead to a flood of immigration that the administration is not equipped to handle. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has disputed questions of the federal government’s readiness, but he has acknowledged that the department expects a jump in immigration after the rule is ended.
“This suit challenges an imminent, man-made, self-inflicted calamity: the abrupt elimination of the only safety valve preventing this administration’s disastrous border policies from devolving into an unmitigated catastrophe,” the attorneys general lawsuit says. Summerhays ruled that the lawsuit has merit and blocked Title 42’s ending while the lawsuit moves forward.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced in April that it planned to end the policy on May 23. The announcement received bipartisan pushback from Republicans and moderate Democrats who expressed concerns over the impact of ending the policy on immigration.
“Title 42 has been an essential tool in combatting the spread of COVID-19 and controlling the influx of migrants at our southern border,” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said in a statement. “We are already facing an unprecedented increase in migrants this year, and that will only get worse if the Administration ends the Title 42 policy. We are nowhere near prepared to deal with that influx. Until we have comprehensive, bipartisan immigration reform that commits to securing our borders and providing a pathway to citizenship for qualified immigrants, Title 42 must stay in place.”
Nancy Pelosi Banned From Receiving Communion Over Her Abortion Stances
The Archbishop of San Francisco has informed Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) that she is not to receive holy communion at mass over her repeated support for abortion.
“In light of my responsibility as the Archbishop of San Francisco … I am hereby notifying you that you are not to present yourself for Holy Communion and, should you do so, you are not to be admitted to Holy Communion, until such time as you publicly repudiate your advocacy for the legitimacy of abortion and confess and receive absolution of this grave sin in the sacrament of Penance,” San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said in a Friday letter to Pelosi.
She did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Daily Wire.
Cordileone’s announcement emphasized that Pope Francis, “in keeping with his predecessors, has likewise been quite clear and emphatic in teaching on the dignity of human life in the womb.”
“This fundamental moral truth has consequences for Catholics in how they live their lives, especially those entrusted with promoting and protecting the public good of society,” the archbishop said. “Pope St. John Paul II was also quite consistent in upholding this constant teaching of the Church, and frequently reminded us that ‘those who are directly involved in lawmaking bodies have a ‘grave and clear obligation to oppose’ any law that attacks human life.”
Pelosi and Cordileone have discussed the matter in the past, the archbishop noted.
“In striving to follow this direction, I am grateful to you for the time you have given me in the past to speak about these matters,” he said. “Unfortunately, I have not received such an accommodation to my many requests to speak with you again since you vowed to codify the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in federal law following upon passage of Texas Senate Bill 8 last September.”
“That is why I communicated my concerns to you via letter on April 7, 2022, and informed you there that, should you not publicly repudiate your advocacy for abortion ‘rights’ or else refrain from referring to your Catholic faith in public and receiving Holy Communion, I would have no choice but to make a declaration, in keeping with canon 915, that you are not to be admitted to Holy Communion,” he added.
Cordileone also told Pelosi that he is ready to continue their conversations at any time, and that he will be praying and fasting for her change of heart.
“I also ask all of the faithful of the Archdiocese of San Francisco to pray for all of our legislators, especially Catholic legislators who promote procured abortion, that with the help and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, they may undergo a conversion of heart in this most grave matter and human life may be protected and fostered in every stage and condition of life.”
In a separate letter to the priests in the San Francisco archdiocese, Cordileone revealed that he had reached out to Pelosi at least six times since September without response.
“In consequence of all this and all that has led up to it, it is my determined judgment that
this resistance to pastoral counsel has gone on for too long, and there is nothing more that can be done at this point to help the Speaker understand the seriousness of the evil her advocacy for
abortion is perpetrating and the scandal she is causing,” he told the priests. “I therefore issued her the aforementioned notification that she is not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”
CatholicVote President Brian Burch praised Cordileone’s handling of “the scandal posed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi” on Friday afternoon.
“For too long Catholic public officials have created confusion and disunity by advocating for policies that destroy innocent human life – in direct contradiction of the teachings of the Catholic faith,” he said. “The persistent disobedience of these public officials is a source of enormous sadness and scandal that begged for a response.”
“The Church has no choice but to protect itself and to encourage all of its members to live in communion with its teachings,” Burch continued. “For the sake of Speaker Pelosi and the rest of the flock in his charge, Archbishop Cordileone is right to call her to return to full communion with the Church. We hope and pray she will do so.”
Pelosi has been repeatedly criticized in the past for touting her Catholicism in connection to her pro-abortion stances, though Catholic doctrine teaches that abortion is “a crime against human life.”
In a May 2021 interview with The Daily Caller News Foundation, Cordileone shared that he has had “conversations” with Pelosi about abstaining from receiving Holy Communion at mass as a pro-abortion Catholic.
“She knows that I stand by Church teaching, and I know she’s respectful enough not to do anything so provocative,” the archbishop said.
San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone @ArchCordileone:
"It's not possible to be a Catholic with a properly formed conscious in good standing and favor an evil such as abortion." pic.twitter.com/EuKiQXDutl
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) May 12, 2021
“You cannot be a good Catholic and support expanding a government-approved right to kill innocent human beings. The answer to crisis pregnancies is not violence but love, for both mother and child,” Cordileone said on another occasion.
Discussing whether Catholic priests have ever given her any “difficulties” about receiving communion, Pelosi described herself in 2018 as a “regular communicant.”
“I think some of it is regional,” she said in a 2018 interview. “It depends on the bishop in a certain region. Fortunately, for me it has not — Communion has not been withheld and I’m a regular communicant so that would be a severe blow to me if that were the case.”
‘Stop Raping Us’: Topless Protester Crashes Cannes Red Carpet
A topless woman with the words “stop raping us” painted on her chest shocked the crowd at Cannes when she crashed a red carpet event Friday.
The incident occurred during an event for the new film “Three Thousand Years Of Longing.” The woman, who wore only underwear, had blue and yellow paint on her body and the name of a radical feminist group on her back, prompting speculation the protest may have been connected to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“Don’t rape us!” the woman yelled as she dropped to her knees before security guards threw a coat over her and dragged her away.
A New York Times reporter recorded part of the chaotic scene before being blocked by authorities.
“On the Cannes red carpet for George Miller’s new movie, the woman in front of me stripped off all her clothes (covered in body paint) and fell to her knees screaming in front of photographers,” wrote Kyle Buchanan. “Cannes authorities rushed over, covered her in a coat, & blocked my camera from filming,” he wrote in a tweet, describing the incident.
On the Cannes red carpet for George Miller’s new movie, the woman in front of me stripped off all her clothes (covered in body paint) and fell to her knees screaming in front of photographers. Cannes authorities rushed over, covered her in a coat, & blocked my camera from filming pic.twitter.com/JFdWlwVMEw
— Kyle Buchanan (@kylebuchanan) May 20, 2022
The woman, who had stripped off her clothing moments before creating the ruckus, also had red paint pouring from her underwear, red handprints on her thighs, and the word “scum” scrawled on the small of her back. While it was not clear what the protest was about, Russian soldiers have been accused of raping Ukrainian civilians in the war, which began in February.
SCUM is the name of a radical French feminist group that claimed credit for the protest in a tweet.
“A SCUM activist enters the red carpet of the #Cannes2022 festival to denounce the sexual violence inflicted on Ukrainian women in the context of the war,” the group said.
Une activiste SCUM s'introduit sur le tapis rouge du festival de #Cannes2022 pour dénoncer les violences sexuelles infligées aux ukrainiennes dans le contexte de la guerre.#cannes2022redcarpet pic.twitter.com/cGEJDghD2k
— SCUM (@scum_officiel) May 20, 2022
The demonstration came ahead of Cannes’ “Ukraine Day” on Saturday, when the festival will hold a series of events to show solidarity for Ukraine’s film industry.
“Three Thousand Years Of Longing” marks Director George Miller’s first film since “Mad Max: Fury Road” in 2015. It stars Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba and is about a scholar who meets a magician in a hotel room, then discovers his fantastical past while getting to make three wishes.
Miller, Swinton, and Elba walked the red carpet after the protester was hauled away, Variety reported.
11 Senate Conservatives Defy Establishment to Vote Against $40 Billion Boondoggle in Aid to Ukraine
Eleven Senate Republicans voted on Thursday to defy the Republican and Democrat establishment and oppose a $40 billion aid package to Ukraine.
The Senate voted Thursday afternoon to approve H.R. 7691, the Ukraine Supplemental Aid Package, 86-11. Nearly the entire Senate voted for the gargantuan aid package to the embattled eastern European nation, and notably, only Republicans opposed the legislation to grant tens of billions of dollars in military and economic aid to Ukraine.
The 11 Senate conservatives that voted against the bill cited that America cannot keep spending more of its taxpayer dollars while its people reel from inflation or grapple with baby formula shortages. They also contended that it was not in America’s interest to further instigate conflict with nuclear-armed Russia. Many of them also raised objections to spending $40 billion without proper offsets to the massive spending on foreign aid.
The 11 Senate conservatives’ vote also echoes the decades-old America First foreign policy vision of the old American Right, wherein conservatives believed that America should not get entangled in foreign conflicts. Then-2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump championed this foreign policy vision, and many of these senators have echoed that America First vision.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have tried to quickly advance the passage of this bill and managed to pass it with the support of the majority of Senate Democrats and Senate Republicans.
“Less than a year after ending the war in Afghanistan, establishment Republicans are whipping votes for the Democrats to pour billions more into a new foreign war—with almost no debate,” a senior GOP aide told Breitbart News. “Americans are sick of this kind of nation-building and have no interest in flirting in a new war with Russia.”
The 11 Senate Republicans that voted against the $40 billion aid package include:
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)
Paul falls into the noninterventionist wing of the Republican Party like his father, former. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX). The Kentucky senator “single handedly” moved to hold up the Ukraine aid package until Thursday.
The Kentucky senator believed that the Ukraine aid package needed an inspector general to ensure that the billions of dollars are spent wisely.
He further emphasized that America does not have the money to spend $40 billion. He told Breitbart News Daily host Alex Marlow that America would have to borrow the money from China to send aid to Ukraine.
“I think it’s important to know that we don’t have any money to send, we have to borrow money from China to send it to Ukraine. And I think most people kind of get that, and many Republicans will say that when it’s a new social program, but if it’s military aid to a country, they’re like we can borrow that, that’s a justified borrowing,” Paul explained to Marlow.
“My oath of office is [to] the U.S. constitution, not to any foreign nation and no matter how sympathetic the cause, my oath of office is to the national security of the United States of America,” Paul said on the Senate floor last week. “We cannot save Ukraine by dooming the U.S. economy.”
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO)
Hawley falls along the more nationalist, populist wing of the Republican Party. He delivered his foreign policy vision at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) in November 2019. The Missouri populist said that his foreign policy would be centered on keeping Americans “safe and prosperous,” while ending America’s decades-long wars in the Middle East.
He has said that most of America’s veterans are from middle- and working-class families, and come from families with a history of military service.
Hawley said in his speech, “It is time for a new departure, based on America’s needs in this new century. Because the point of American foreign policy should not be to remake the world, but to keep Americans safe and prosperous.”
Now, during this latest legislative battle, Hawley said that this Ukraine aid package serves as the latest attempt to nation-build and that it does not serve the country’s interest.
“Spending $40 billion on Ukraine aid – more than three times what all of Europe has spent combined – is not in America’s interests. It neglects priorities at home (the border), allows Europe to freeload, short changes critical interests abroad and comes w/ no meaningful oversight,” Hawley wrote.
“That’s not isolationism. That’s nationalism. It’s about prioritizing American security and American interests,” he added.
Spending $40 billion on Ukraine aid – more than three times what all of Europe has spent combined – is not in America’s interests. It neglects priorities at home (the border), allows Europe to freeload, short changes critical interests abroad and comes w/ no meaningful oversight
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) May 16, 2022
Hawley said in an interview with Fox News this week after Tuesday’s primaries that it is “clear” that the Republican base wants to unite behind the “populist” agenda:
Sen. Josh Hawley : It’s time for Republicans to unite behind populist agenda. pic.twitter.com/yPAdm41s9C
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) May 18, 2022
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT)
Lee falls in line with a more constitutionalist wing of the Republican Party. Lee proposed an amendment that would streamline and target the aid to better meet the needs of the Ukrainian people. He said in a statement:
The House proposal would spend nearly ten times the annual defense budget of Ukraine while delegating broad discretion to the President and bureaucrats regarding where and how most of the money is spent. Much of the money will likely go to nations across the world not involved in the conflict. Putin’s aggression is indefensible, and we should look for appropriate ways to support Ukrainians in the noble defense of their homeland. We must also make sure Congress maintains its constitutional role of directing engagement in conflict and ensure that we are not spending unnecessary funds while in a time of historic inflation and ballooning national debt. My amendment will ensure we can help our friends without compromising our constitutional or financial integrity.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
Blackburn said although she supports the Ukrainians’ fight against Russia, she believes that there will not be any accountability or oversight for the funding. She said:
I fully support the Ukrainian people in their fight against Russia. Vladimir Putin is a sick and evil human and must be held accountable. As written, this legislation has zero accountability into how taxpayer dollars are being spent. For example, the State Department is asking for $110 million to repair the Kyiv Embassy but has not even conducted a full damage assessment. Meanwhile, many previous authorizations – including $100 million in food aid – have yet to be executed.
Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN)
Hagerty, who was Trump’s former ambassador to Japan, said in a recent interview with Fox News that America cannot send aid to Ukraine while ignoring the many crises unfolding under President Joe Biden’s administration. He explained:
I’ll be a no on the package, Maria. It’s, as Senator [Rand] Paul said, we’ve got crises erupting across the nation. In my home state, mothers can’t get baby formula in Knoxville. You’ve got grandmothers and mothers that have sons and grandsons that won’t come home because of fentanyl overdoses because of the illegal drugs that are flowing across our southern border that President Biden will not protect. You’ve got crime running rampant across America, and people need to look at our nation and think we’ve got to look at… our own national security first, as Senator Paul has said. Other nations are watching us, too. China is seeing us not behave like a serious nation, rushing to put more aid into a country, who, again, I certainly don’t have anything against the Ukrainians. We want to see them win, but pumping more aid into that country when we’re not taking care of our own country—the best thing that Biden could do is stop the war that he’s waged on American industry. That would lower prices overall, that would take the funding away from Putin’s war machine against Ukraine. It would make our economy do better here. Biden will not do that. Biden will not be serious, and it’s taken us into a very bad direction. So, he just wants to throw another 40 billion dollars of American money into this when you’ve got other nations more approximate—the European nations that have sort of stayed with us, but they haven’t done this level of investment […] I know that there are other senators that are thinking very hard about this right now, as I have done. And I think it’s going to be up to each one’s conscience. We’ve already committed a great deal of money to this effort area. And I know that people are concerned that that money is being well spent, and we should certainly take effort to oversee that very carefully. At the same time, we have got to take care of things here at home first. That’s our primary duty.
Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY)
Lummis said in a statement about the vote:
I am fully in support of Ukraine and its efforts to push back on Russian aggression. I am, however, concerned about this particular request. President Biden requested $33 billion, yet we are voting on a $40 billion package. It’s important to give Ukraine the support they need, but we also need to be pragmatic about the amount of money we are spending.
Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN)
Braun said in a statement this week about the Ukraine vote:
I support helping Ukraine expel the Russian invasion, but as inflation, gas prices, and shortages wallop Americans here at home I can’t support $40 billion of new spending unless it’s offset with cuts or taken from already authorized funds, especially when the European Union isn’t matching what we’re doing to end this conflict in their own backyard.
Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL)
“The federal government can’t keep spending money without accountability or oversight. I’m all for supporting Ukraine, but we need to be responsible with taxpayer dollars,” Tuberville said in a statement.
The federal government can't keep spending money without accountability or oversight. I'm all for supporting Ukraine, but we need to be responsible with taxpayer dollars.
— Coach Tommy Tuberville (@SenTuberville) May 19, 2022
Sen. John Boozman (R-AR)
Boozman said in a statement on Thursday:
Ukraine has fought valiantly against Putin’s invasion, but it’s time to think more long-term and strategically about the U.S. role in this ongoing conflict. The Biden administration should offer a comprehensive plan with clear objectives and assurances that our aid and support is targeted and effectively protecting America’s interests. In light of President Biden’s disastrous policies on domestic and international fronts, the lack of oversight of U.S. taxpayer dollars, and his refusal to make American energy production a centerpiece of our response to Russia’s malign behavior, I can’t support this package.
Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS)
Marshall said in a statement:
Combined with the original $13.6 billion installment signed into law in March, passage of this bill brings the total spending on Ukraine this year to $53.6 billion – the largest foreign aid package provided by Congress in more than 20 years. All the while, our NATO allies contributions have dropped off significantly, turning this essentially into a proxy war between the U.S. and Russia, there is no long term strategy, and no end in sight to the spending. Not to mention, this spending in support of Ukraine is coming at a time when our border is being overrun by illegal crossers, fentanyl is poising our communities, and inflation and supply issues are still rattling every American home. Our allies must step up their support and our leaders in Washington must demand more accountability, more strategy, and more prioritization of the issues Americans are facing here at home.
Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID)
“I strongly support the United States assisting Ukraine in its own fight to remain free and independent from Russia’s totalitarian control, and providing assistance to Ukraine is a matter of both long-term national and economic security,” Crapo said in a statement. “However, any further spending must be offset.”
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