Tuberville appears willing to give Putin the benefit of the doubt

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Tuberville appears willing to give Putin the benefit of the doubt

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Over the course of just three years, Sen. Tommy Tuberville has made quite a name for himself. The Alabama Republican is perhaps best known for launching an unprecedented, 10-month blockade, preventing confirmation of U.S. military leaders, but that’s not the right-wing senator’s only notable contribution.

Tuberville has also made headlines for embracing Donald Trump’s “Big Lie,” for example, and voting against certification of the 2020 election results. He’s also disputed the racism of white nationalists and presented an unsubtle argument that “inner city” school teachers are lazy and possibly illiterate. He’s also struggled with basic details related to civics and modern American history.

But let’s also not forget that Tuberville has shared a variety of curious thoughts about foreign policy in general and Russia’s attack on Ukraine in specific. Two years ago this month, the Alabaman insisted that Vladimir Putin launched an invasion in order to acquire “more farmland,” because “he can’t feed his people.” The idea that Russia was incapable of feeding its population was plainly wrong, though the GOP senator apparently didn’t know that. (In the same public appearance, Tuberville complained that China’s economy has surpassed the United States’, which also wasn’t even close to being true.)

Two years later, Tuberville is taking a firm stand against U.S. security aid to our Ukrainian allies, and he turned to social media last week to explain why:

“Last night’s [Tucker Carlson’s] interview with Putin shows that Russia is open to a peace agreement, while it is DC warmongers who want to prolong the war. That is why I’m voting to stop 60 BILLION MORE of our tax dollars to this conflict.”

Right off the bat, it’s worth pausing to appreciate the apparent fact that Tuberville considers Russia’s authoritarian leader a credible source. Putin said he’s open to peace, and Tuberville, relying on his vast expertise, is inclined to take the dictator’s rhetoric at face value and give him the benefit of the doubt.

As truly ridiculous as this was, however, let’s not brush past the fact that, according to the senior senator from Alabama, “it is DC warmongers,” and not the Kremlin, “who want to prolong the war.” In other words, Tuberville could hold Putin responsible for Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, but instead, the Republican is inclined to blame officials in his own country.

All of which leaves me with a lingering question: Why, exactly, is Tommy Tuberville still on the Senate Armed Services Committee?

Between his 2023 blockade, his ongoing disparagement of the U.S. military, and his willingness to shift responsibility for the war in Ukraine from Moscow to D.C., it’s hardly outlandish to think senators should have a conversation about whether it’s time to revisit his committee assignments.

Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer for “The Rachel Maddow Show,” the editor of MaddowBlog and an MSNBC political contributor. He’s also the bestselling author of “The Impostors: How Republicans Quit Governing and Seized American Politics.”

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