North Carolina Representative Madison Cawthorn is under fire from members of his own Republican party after a collection of statements revealing his true feelings surrounding Ukraine.
Cawthorn called Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy a "thug” and the Ukrainian government “incredibly evil.”
"Remember that Zelenskyy is a thug. Remember that the Ukrainian government is incredibly corrupt, and it is incredibly evil, and it has been pushing woke ideologies."
Cawthorn’s comments have been condemned by Republicans.
Republican Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa responded, “You know, if we think that any country is free of corruption then we are kidding ourselves. But let me tell you what, the Ukrainians want to be free. They have been fighting for this for the past 30 years. To just hand them over to an actual murderous thug named Vladimir Putin is the wrong thing to do."
Republican Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi also responded by firmly establishing the Republican party on Ukraine’s side and calling for strong action against Russia. "The Republican base is with us on this," Wicker said. The vast majority of Democrats are with us on this."
Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina emphasized American unity over the issue. "I think the average Republican and Democrat in this country would give high marks to Zelenskyy," Graham said. "Do a poll. I've seen these polls. What Putin has done is done something we can't do among ourselves. Like 90% of the country is with Ukrainians and is opposed to Putin."
Despite overwhelming backlash within the United States, Russia approves of Cawthorn’s comments and has incorporated clips of Cawthorn speaking into its communist controlled TV networks.
Russia has also featured leading American voices like Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson on its channels in an attempt to manipulate public opinion around the unprovoked invasion into Ukraine.
After the backlash, Cawthorn was asked by reporters if he still felt the same about Ukraine. When given the opportunity to walk back the “thug” comment in a town hall, Cawthorn refused. He also declined to call Putin a war criminal.