Matt Gaetz unknowingly cites Chinese Communist newspaper during Ukraine military funding hearing
Rep. Matt Gaetz unknowingly cited from a Chinese propaganda outlet during a congressional hearing.
Gaetz appeared to recognize his mistake when the Pentagon official he was questioning asked him to clarify the source.
"As a general matter, I don't take Beijing's propaganda at face value," the official said. "Fair enough," Gaetz replied.
Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz cited an unusual source during a congressional hearing about US military aid to Ukraine.
Gaetz has long been an outspoken critic of continued US security assistance to Ukraine as it fends off Russia's military invasion. During Tuesday's House Armed Services Committee hearing, he brought up a report by China's Global Times that he said talks about the US training Ukrainian soldiers.
Gaetz didn't appear to know, however, that the Global Times is a Chinese Communist Party-controlled outlet with an ultranationalist agenda until the witness he was questioning pointed it out.
"Is the Azov battalion getting access to US weapons?" Gaetz asked Colin Kahl, the US's undersecretary of defense for policy. The Azov battalion is a far-right nationalist regiment in Ukraine, and some of its members serve in Ukraine's armed forces.
"Not that I'm aware of, but if you have information, happy to hear it," Kahl told Gaetz.
Gaetz then asked to enter the Global Times report into the congressional record and cited from the paper to support his allegation that the Azov battalion was "getting stuff as far back as 2018."
"Any reason to disagree with that assessment?" Gaetz asked Kahl.
"Is this the — I'm sorry, is this the Global Times from China?" Kahl said.
"No, this is —" Gaetz began, before leaning over to read from the article he was quoting.
"That's what you read," Kahl said.
"Well, it might be," Gaetz said. "Yeah, it might be, yeah."
"As a general matter, I don't take Beijing's propaganda at face value," Kahl replied.
"No, no, just tell me if the allegation is true or false," Gaetz said.
Kahl reiterated that he didn't have any evidence one way or another and repeated that "as a general matter, I don't take Beijing's propaganda at face value."
Gaetz conceded the point, saying, "Fair enough, I would agree with that assessment."
Watch the exchange below:
—CSPAN (@cspan) February 28, 2023
Asked for comment, a spokesman for Gaetz told Insider: "Congressman Gaetz wanted to ask if the report was true. The panelist said it wasn't true, and that was a good enough answer for him."
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