Charlie Kirk, Donald Trump Jr Somehow Manage To Be Racist About Ukraine, Zelenskyy
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the United States Wedneaday and delivered a stirring address to a joint session of Congress. All Americans should support a democratic ally who’s standing firm against a brutal, unprovoked invasion from a hostile foreign power. However, too many Republicans seem content to let Ukraine fall under Vladimir Putin’s thumb. Maybe they resent that Ukraine’s brave resistance reflects well on President Joe Biden’s foreign policy. Or maybe they just grew up rooting for the Empire in Star Wars.
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From the safety of his podcast, Charlie Kirk, the physical manifestation of a mixed-booze hangover, berated Zelenskyy personally while attacking the US government for providing aid and comfort to Putin’s enemy.
“We have been warning about Ukraine, and this being a waste of money, and a waste of time, since the very beginning,” Kirk said, unapologetically admitting that he’s been spreading Russia-friendly propaganda ever since Ukraine was invaded. “And now they want to spend another 45 billion dollars. Where is this money going? Where are the weapons going? Is it being audited? The answer is no. We are doing direct bank transfers into the treasury of Ukraine.”
Auditing the Ukraine aid is a popular rightwing talking point that Marjorie Taylor Greene has vomited out more than once. It implies that the money is being misused, but there literally is a war in Ukraine. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights confirmed a total of 6,826 civilian deaths in Ukraine during December 18, 2022, and 428 were children. This is real, not some Wag the Dog scam.
We also know where the money is going, because Zelenskky tells us when he asks for specific weapons, planes, and tanks. But if Republicans believe there is a more efficient and cost effective way of repelling Russian troops from Ukraine, where they are commiting vicious war crimes, Zelenskyy would certainly hear them out.
Republicans usually love spending money on defense. A measly $45 billion is cigar-lighting cash compared to the defense budgets that Democrats have been called commies for questioning even a cent. That’s why it’s so important that Putin’s useful idiots frame Ukraine’s very survival as immaterial to America’s own security. Putin wants to restore Russia to the former Soviet Union’s “glory.” That’s not a good thing.
Kirk grossly called Zelenskyy “the uppity foreigner, the international welfare queen, that can't be bothered to put on a suit and tie — I don't know, let me make sure I get this right. Is Zelensky wearing a suit and tie today? I don't know. He's probably wearing the [John] Fetterman look.”
Zelenskyy is a president whose country is at war. No reasonable person expects him to show up at the White House in a top hat, white tie, and tails. So it’s telling that they would drop the “welfare” bomb. It’s a loaded racial trope, going back to the genteel, (barely) covert racist days of the Reagan era. It’s also a clearly coordinated insult, which Donald Trump Jr. parroted the same day.
“[Zelenskyy] is basically an ungrateful international welfare queen,” said the son of a grifter who apparently paid less in taxes than a Walmart greeter. Trump Jr. and Kirk want their racist audience to imagine Zelenskyy riding around in a Cadillac while eating lobster. The reality is that he’s spent the past year with a target on his back. Zelenskyy is a leader who’s risen to the moment, while these dullards can barely rise in the morning without professional assistance.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."