The Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) backpedaled this weekend after posting a now-deleted tweet falsely referring to the four Ukrainian regions that Russia illegally annexed as “Ukrainian-occupied territories.”
CPAC’s Twitter account posted a statement acknowledging that the tweet, which also griped about Democrats’ supposed “gift-giving to Ukraine” in the form of aid, had “belittled the plight of the innocent Ukrainian people.”
However, CPAC maintained its complaints about the aid to Ukraine, asserting that “We must oppose Putin, but American taxpayers should not be shouldering the vast majority of the cost.”
The tweet, which CPAC said had not been approved, was posted on Friday morning but wasn’t removed until Saturday. CPAC blamed the delay on the time difference between the U.S. and Australia, where the committee’s convention was held in Sydney on Oct. 1 and Oct. 2.
CPAC chair Matt Schlapp similarly told the Washington Post that the tweet was “never approved” and that he had missed it “due to my travel into a distant time zone.”
The deleted tweet read: “Vladimir Putin announces the annexation of 4 Ukrainian-occupied territories. Biden and the Dems continue to send Ukraine billions of taxpayer dollars. Meanwhile, we are under attack at our southern border. When will Democrats put #AmericaFirst and end the gift-giving to Ukraine?”
The post included a graphic of the Russian flag with text stating that Russian leader Vladimir Putin had announced “the official annexation of four Ukrainian-occupied territories.”
Daily Beast columnist Julia Davis posted a screenshot of the tweet:
Putin began the process of illegally annexing the regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia last week after the Kremlin held sham referendums in those areas that have been condemned by the U.S. and much of the international community as illegitimate.
CPAC’s tweet comes against the backdrop of U.S. conservatives’ growing embrace of other countries’ far-right leaders, particularly Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, a longtime Putin ally.