CPAC President Matt Schlapp said on Saturday that the tweet did not make it through the normal approval process because he was traveling to attend a conference in Australia. “Because of my trip to a distant time zone, it was never approved as usual,” he said in a text message.
In a statement, CPAC expressed support for Ukraine but maintained its opposition to US aid for the beleaguered country.
“We should oppose Putin, but American taxpayers should not bear the vast majority of the cost,” the statement said. “The tweet belittled the plight of the innocent Ukrainian people.”
CPAC has repeatedly flirted with pro-Putin views in recent years, including hosting Hungary’s pro-Russia Prime Minister Victor Orban at a conference in Dallas in August.
CPAC is not alone among American conservatives who oppose Ukrainian aid despite Putin’s invasion. Fox News host Tucker Carlson has alleged US sabotage over leaks on a Russian gas pipeline to Europe, unsubstantiated claims that have earned him airtime on Russian state television. Former President Donald Trump also posted a message on his Truth Social platform offering himself as a negotiator for the conflict.
At a Trump rally in Michigan on Saturday, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) reiterated her opposition to US aid to Ukraine and said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky should negotiate a peace deal with Russia.
“We have so many problems here at home that I can’t even think about sending our money to fund a proxy war with Russia,” he said in an interview. “Zelensky does not run the US government. He is not our president, but for some reason, Joe Biden bows every time. … The American people don’t care about what was there.”
At the Michigan rally, Trump suggested he could have prevented Putin from invading Ukraine.
“That war would never have happened if I was president and it didn’t happen,” Trump said.
Many Republicans have followed Trump’s lead in speaking ill of Putin, whom Trump avoided condemning and sided with his own intelligence agencies by questioning Russian interference in the 2016 election. Relations with Ukraine turned partisan during Trump’s first impeachment trial, after he tried to use US aid to Ukraine to pressure Zelensky into announcing an investigation into Biden and his son Hunter’s business dealings in the country.