Editorial Roundup: Kansas

Kansas City Star. April 22, 2024.

Editorial: These Missouri and Kansas Republicans in Congress finally did right by Ukraine

We don’t get that many chances to say, “Well done, House Speaker Mike Johnson,” or “Yay you, some (but not others) of the Missouri and Kansas Republicans in Congress” who joined every Democrat in the House in passing crucial and long overdue aid to our allies in Ukraine.

So here we are, glad to get to congratulate those of you who bucked “Drowsy Donald” Trump’s pro-Putin view that Ukraine should essentially give in and give up. You know, so Russians can turn their attention to doing “whatever the hell they want” to NATO countries who don’t, as he puts it, pay their bills.

(The former president’s secret plan to end the war in 24 hours, according to Hungary’s authoritarian prime minister, Viktor Orban, who sees Trump as a “man of peace,” is that he “will not give a penny in the Ukraine-Russia war. Therefore, the war will end, because it is obvious that Ukraine cannot stand on its own feet.” While Trump himself never knocked down Orban’s statement, Trump aides told The Washington Post that nah, the real plan is for “Ukraine to cede Crimea and Donbas border region to Russia.” But either way, the plan would force Ukraine to back down.)

The Texas Republican Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, was absolutely right to ask fellow lawmakers: “Are you Churchill or Chamberlain?” in this make-or-break moment for Ukraine.

Even Trump, who let’s just say is not Churchill in this or any other scenario, thankfully went quiet on Ukraine aid when he saw that his supporters in Congress were likely to lose the House vote that should have happened six months ago. And “Moscow Marjorie” Taylor Greene hasn’t yet followed through on her ongoing threats to oust Johnson from his speakership if he actually started doing his job.

There is a lesson about courage here, but whether or not House Republicans learn anything lasting from this brief return to common sense, what they just did does matter.


On NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pushed back hard on a question about how long Americans should be expected to fund the war in Ukraine: “The Americans are not funding the war in Ukraine,” he said through a translator. “Ukraine is sending their best sons and daughters to the front line. And this reduces the price for all Europe, for all NATO. It reduces the price for everyone, including the U.S. as the leaders in NATO. U.S. Army now does not have to fight protecting NATO countries. Ukrainians are doing that. And it’s only the ammo that the civilized world is providing,” in part through the aid package that includes $61 billion for Ukraine, $26 billion for Israel and $8 billion for allies in the Indo-Pacific. The Senate can’t pass it fast enough.

For months, while Johnson dithered and delayed, Ukraine lost ground and lives. At the State of the Union address, Johnson did clap at President Joe Biden’s comments about the importance of helping Ukraine, but couldn’t seem to decide how enthusiastically he should react.

Things got personal for the speaker, though, after his son was accepted at the Naval Academy.

“To put it bluntly, I would rather send bullets to Ukraine than American boys. My son is going to begin in the Naval Academy this fall. This is a live-fire exercise for me as it is for so many American families. This is not a game; this is not a joke.”

It never was.


On Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham, who has been saying we need to support Ukraine, but also that “we must deal with our border first,” warned on Fox News Sunday that “if you give Putin Ukraine, he will not stop. … And if you give him Ukraine, there goes Taiwan because China’s watching to see what we do. … So, this idea ‘give up on Ukraine makes the world safer’” is wrong, he said. Do that, and “there goes Taiwan. Ukrainians are fighting like tigers. So this idea that we can’t help Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan at the same time, I reject that. I reject it totally.”

So do we. And Senator, might you have a word with your Missouri colleague Josh Hawley, who has incorrectly denied that Ukraine is even an ally?

Democratic Reps. Sharice Davids of Kansas and Emanuel Cleaver and Cori Bush of Missouri of course joined every other member of their party on Ukraine aid, though in a statement, Bush qualified that support: “While I have significant concerns about the scale of U.S. defense spending, including this latest $60 billion package for Ukraine and its potential to prolong this brutal war, it serves as necessary leverage for the Ukrainian government.”

Missouri Republican Reps. Sam Graves and Ann Wagner also voted for aid to Ukraine, while Reps. Mark Alford, Eric Burlison and Jason Smith did not. Blaine Luetkemeyer didn’t vote. And Kansas Republican Rep. Jake LaTurner voted for aid to Ukraine, while Reps. Ron Estes and Tracey Mann did not.

Estes did vote for aid to Israel and Taiwan, but not to Ukraine, which he said was “too much for me to support when the United States has already spent more than $100 billion on Ukraine aid.”

As we’ve said before, this is not charity, but an investment in freedom, and in assuring that Mike Johnson’s son and so many other American men and women don’t have to fight in Europe.