Russian strongman Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine has drawn attention to a foreign policy rift inside the Senate GOP caucus.
Politico reported on the dynamics in a new story headlined, "Inside McConnell's bid to quash GOP 'isolationists.'"
McConnell spoke of talking with President Joe Biden about his trip to Ukraine, where he sought to reassure allies that “Republicans still believe NATO is important.”
“My argument to [Biden] was, I want to reinforce with the Europeans after some loose talk during the Trump years about whether NATO is important, that at least at the moment, the most important Republican we currently have in Congress has a different point of view,” McConnell said.
McConnell told Politico he wanted to “push back … against the isolationist sentiment in my own party. And [Biden] agreed that that makes sense.”
However, McConnell was unable to convince eleven GOP senators to vote for a $40 billion aid package.
Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Mike Braun (R-IN), John Boozman (R-AR), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Mike Lee (R-UT), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) all voted against the bill.
“I think 11 votes is a pretty small group,” McConnell said. “This is not a major schism. It’s a small isolationist group, somewhat encouraged by the former president. But it’s not widely held among Republicans in Congress, and I don’t think among the public in general.”
McConnell said Trump's posture was "not helpful" but argued the isolationist wing was not growing.
“Obviously I disagree with President Trump about that. But campaign discussions are one thing. Governing is another. And I would plead with you to focus on the people who are voting here [in the Senate] and what is actually happening, not sometimes-loose campaign talk out in primaries across America," he argued.
Read the full report.