White House press secretary Jen Psaki launched a misleading broadside against Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) on Friday, erroneously arguing that Cotton signals supports for sending military aid to Ukraine, but opposes it in practice.
Psaki’s attack came as response to a Cotton tweet that made no mention of President Joe Biden or his party.
While it is true that Cotton opposed a $1.5 trillion omnibus spending package, that included $13 billion in aid for Ukraine, the portion representing less than one percent of the total spending included in the bill, as Cotton pointed out in a reply.
The exchange between Psaki and Cotton mirrored one between Senators Ben Sasse and Chris Murphy on Thursday, during which Sasse lambasted Murphy for launching a similar attack to Psaki’s on a number of Senate Republicans. Among other things, Sasse accused the Connecticut Democrat of “tribal hackery” and “self-pleasuring.”
“If you allow liars to constantly lie, and they can get away with it, then they just keep doing it,” said Sasse.
When asked about the exchange, Cotton’s press secretary told National Review that “the Biden administration should spend less time defending itself and more time leading. They want praise for doing what should have been done months ago—all while still buying Russian oil and blocking fighter jets for Ukraine.”
The aid package for Ukraine inside of the larger omnibus included close to $7 billion in traditional foreign aid components, $3.5 billion in military supplies, and $3 billion in U.S. military deployments and intelligence. Republicans have argued that it should have included more, and been passed as a standalone bill.