The Republican Party Has Become a Putin Fan Club

by | Feb 28, 2024 | Opinions & Commentary

Vladimir Putin. Image: Presidential Executive Office of Russia, Wiki Commons

The Republican Party Has Become a Putin Fan Club

by | Feb 28, 2024 | Opinions & Commentary

Vladimir Putin. Image: Presidential Executive Office of Russia, Wiki Commons

Trump’s toadies and bootlickers agree: The Martyr of Mar-a-Lago is the savior of America and his pal Putin is not only a genius, he’s the defender of white Christianity.

Republished with permission from Florida Phoenix, by Diane Roberts

The Grand Old Putin Party’s plan to impeach President Joe Biden has collapsed like cheap lawn furniture in a gust of wind.

Alexander Smirnov, their Deep Throat, the “key FBI informant” with supposed dirt on Hunter Biden’s Ukraine business dealings, now admits he lied.

Moreover, the alleged evidence was nonsense, apparently funneled through Russian Intelligence.

You might almost think this was a Kremlin op.

Washington Trumpists have become such easy pickings for Vladimir Putin. Given their divorce from reality, they can’t help but admire the neo-tsar of a realm where war is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength.

Moscow’s Washington apparatchiks aren’t putting Novichok in Democrats’ tea or shoving reporters out of windows (at least I don’t think they are), but they’re good little misinformation soldiers and in love with autocracy.

The American Right no longer connects words with meaning: When they say “liberty,” they mean repression.

They no longer care about the rule of law.

Their capo has been adjudicated a rapist and a fraudster, indicted 91 times and charged with four felonies, yet their response is to shrug and claim it’s all “political,” even as they insist the Biden family is some kind of criminal enterprise.

Every accusation they make is, of course, a confession.


The American Right doesn’t believe in alliances and treaties: They want to pretend other countries don’t matter to the U.S., never mind that construction equipment from China, technology from Germany, clothes and shoes from Vietnam, fruits and vegetables from Mexico, pharmaceuticals from the U.K., and other goods American consumers are rather attached to; never mind that the U.S. never hesitates to call on allies to help us with our wars—Afghanistan and Iraq, anyone?

They also reject the democratic process, doing everything they can to suppress the vote—especially if voters aren’t white.

The American Right is not so much goose-stepping toward authoritarianism as sprinting.

You notice I don’t call these people “conservatives”: They don’t want to conserve anything but their own power and will happily burn the country down to achieve that end.

I don’t call them “Republicans,” either, though that’s what most of them call themselves. “Republican” used to mean small government, individual rights, a respectable amount of fiscal probity, and decent environmental stewardship, and sometimes even—until Nixon’s Southern Strategy—equal justice.

Now they’re nothing but Putin fanboys.

In his free time between grifts and court appearances, Donald Trump continues to make clear his, er, profound attraction to the Russian dictator, calling Putin’s invasion of Ukraine “genius,” and “savvy.”

While U.S. investigators found evidence that Russia had indeed interfered in the 2016 presidential election, Trump refused to accept that his Big Cool Friend would ever do such a thing.

Putin assured him the Kremlin was innocent, and who are you going to believe? All 17 of our intelligence agencies or Joseph Stalin’s heir?

Mob Rules

Trump sees NATO as some kind of old school mob protection ring: If a European nation doesn’t “pay,” he says, he’ll ignore Article Five and encourage Russia to “do whatever the hell they want.”

It took Trump days to even mention the murder of Alexei Navalny, and then he refused to condemn it. Instead he compared himself to Navalny, whining that he, too, is being persecuted by the state.

As he posted on social media: “The sudden death of Alexei Navalny has made me more and more aware of what is happening in our Country,” blaming Joe Biden for all his troubles, especially the $500 million+ in judgments against him.

In the teaspoon of dried peas that passes for Trump’s brain, the president he habitually portrays as weak is also—somehow—that scary Dark Brandon guy, able to juju a bunch of district attorneys, judges, grand juries, and federal prosecutors into indicting scores of times.

Trump’s toadies and bootlickers agree: The Martyr of Mar-a-Lago is the savior of America and his pal Putin is not only a genius, he’s the defender of white Christianity.

As for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, their attitude is: 1. So what? and 2. Because we refused to swear we’d keep Ukraine out of NATO, it was our fault—at least according to proto-Trumper Pat Buchanan.

We made Putin do it.


Just ask Tucker Carlson. He “interviewed” Uncle Vlad, alternately giggling and looking like a dog who just heard a new noise.

An excited tourist (The snow is white! The people are white!) Tucker wandered around Moscow, dispatching wide-eyed reports declaring Russia is, like, awesome: Clean subways! No homeless people!

And their supermarkets!

Tucker is impressed that a week’s worth of food might only cost 100 bucks, which sounds great, except that most Russians earn less than $200 a week.

As an exasperated Jon Stewart pointed out, “There’s a hidden fee to your cheap groceries and orderly streets. Ask Alexei Navalny or any of his supporters.”

But you don’t have to be conspiracy-addled ex-president or a disgraced ex-Foxer to kiss Putin’s fanny. The United States government is a cornucopia of dictator apologists.

Trump himself has always uber-fanned totalitarian types, from Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, to the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, to the Philippines’ Duterte (who built his political success on extra-judicial killings), to Viktor Orbán, strongman of Hungary and pin-up boy for American conservatives.

But his MAGA-minions also get off on the thugs running countries where they don’t bother with all those tiresome human rights and all that messy free-and-fair-elections crap.

U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville, who comes from a state where they keep children in the freezer, says the U.S. needs to stop funding the Ukrainians.

See, Ukraine is like a junior high team playing, say, mighty Michigan. Slaughter! And who wants to support the losing team?

Ohio U.S. Sen. J.D. Vance turfed up at the recent Munich Security Conference where he refused to meet Vlodomyr Zelenskyy, telling the Europeans Ukraine is their problem, not ours.

I mean, his constituents can’t find Ukraine on a map, so what does he care?

Money to Be Made

Rumble, a web platform backed by Vance, posts Kremlin propaganda, including a hostage video of two Americans captured while fighting for Ukraine and tortured by the Russians.

Vance’s venture capital firm holds seven million shares of Rumble and is bankrolled by his political sugar-daddy Peter Thiel, an Elon Muskesque gazillionaire who tells anyone who’ll listen democracy is not all that great.

In any case, there’s money to be made and autocratic egos to be stroked, even though a prominent foreign policy expert described all of this as “music to Putin’s ears.”

Over in the U.S. House of Representatives, the majority party boasts an average IQ equivalent to a Savoy cabbage. Witness Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has been insisting that the judge in Trump’s New York case be “disrobed,” and is now demanding America cut Ukraine loose.

Let them fight their own battle for survival: After all, “Ukraine is not the 51st state.”

Democratic values? What democratic values?

‘Ukraine Fatitgue’

Greene’s pal, gel-headed chaos agent U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, introduced a “Ukraine Fatigue” resolution last year. These days he amuses himself by threatening Mike “Moses” Johnson with losing the House speakership if he allows a vote on the bipartisan Senate bill to fund weapons for Ukraine.

Gaetz’s home state of Florida got $1 billion in 2023 for making military supplies for Ukraine. But what’s economic advantage compared to bringing down the international order?

I don’t know about you, but I kind of miss the good old days of the Cold War. Americans used to expend a great deal of energy pitching hissy fits about the Evil Empire.

Those were more innocent times.

These days the Trumpists set the fashion:  Despot Chic is the look for 2024.

Or, as the Guardian columnist Marina Hyde puts it, “the current must-have accessory for all the most grimly murderous dictators is a pet American idiot.”

Florida Phoenix

Florida Phoenix

The Phoenix is a nonprofit news site that’s free of advertising and free to readers. We cover state government and politics with a staff of five journalists located at the Florida Press Center in downtown Tallahassee.

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