Matt Gaetz Wants Congress to Decide if U.S. Should Go to War With Russia

Republican Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida on Wednesday criticized government support of Ukraine, stating that if members of Congress "recklessly" assert that the U.S. is at war with Russia then it should be officially declared.

While speaking on the House floor, Gaetz warned of a "dangerous bipartisan consensus that is walking us into war with Russia." The congressman, who was among the 57 House Republicans who voted against a new $40 billion aid package for Ukraine, said the government should prioritize domestic issues. He also called on Congress to vote on an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) resolution to show which members would go on record about their support for whether the U.S. should be involved in the Ukraine war.

A group known as the Republican Accountability Project recently published a list of "pro-Putin Republicans and conservatives." Its website included links to video or text of various statements deemed favorable toward Russian President Vladimir Putin and/or Russia from Republican officials such as Representative Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina and Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia. Gaetz also made the list due a Twitter message he posted prior to the invasion.

In that January tweet, he wrote, "I'm more concerned with the U.S.-Mexico border than the Russia-Ukraine border. Not sorry."

His message on Wednesday contained similar themes. He contrasted the $15.3 billion for U.S. Customs and Border Patrol in President Joe Biden's budget with the $40 billion Ukraine aid package that passed the House on Tuesday.

"So, apparently Ukraine is more than twice as important as our homeland," Gaetz said. He also denounced House members for approving aid to Ukraine while "American families go without baby formula."

Matt Gaetz during a hearing
Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida called on Congress to vote on a war against Russia as he criticized the large amount of U.S. government support for Ukraine. In this photo, Gaetz is seen during a hearing on the conclusion of military operations in Afghanistan at the Rayburn House Office on Capitol Hill on September 29, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Getty Images

During his remarks, Gaetz also hit out at Massachusetts Democratic Representative Seth Moulton, who said during a Friday interview on Fox News that the U.S. is "fundamentally at war" with Russia.

"If we are at war, like Congressman Moulton says, then why not vote on an authorization to use military force? Or are we just going to operate in Ukraine like we have in Yemen and throughout the world—forever undeclared wars?" the representative said. "I suspect many in this body won't want a vote or a debate, because regime change in Russia is their actual objective, not defending Ukraine."

Gaetz also compared the unity behind Ukraine to the unity the country experienced after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and the outbreak of COVID-19. He said both of those events led to rash judgments, such as a war in Iraq and COVID lockdowns and mandates that came from "unity bundled by fear."

"'Defund the police' took off because dissent wasn't allowed. You were shouted down as a racist. Just as now questioning our actions in Ukraine makes you a traitor," Gaetz said.

Elsewhere in his prepared comments, Gaetz made the claim that Ukraine's Azov Regiment, a non-government militia that has been tied to far-right activists, had received military weapons from the U.S.

"Democrats go on a daily snipe hunt for white supremacy here in America. And yet they're fine giving rockets to actual white supremacists in Ukraine," he said.

Gaetz brought up Afghanistan as well, saying that "a year ago, we lost a war against goat herders waving rifles. Now we're rushing to fight a nation that possesses 6,000 nuclear warheads."

He concluded by saying that Congress was "willing to send billions to Kyiv that will line the pockets of corrupt officials just like we did in Afghanistan. We are sleepwalking into a war, and the American people are left in the dark."

Newsweek reached out to Gaetz for comment.