Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Sunday deemed China, Russia and Iran the new ‘axis of evil’ amid wars in Ukraine and Israel, while addressing U.S. funding of allies’ responses to those duel conflicts.
In a new sit-down interview with ‘Fox News Sunday’ host Shannon Bream, McConnell, the highest-ranking Senate Republican, agreed with fellow Republican Kentuckian Sen. Rand Paul that the $1.5 trillion deficit is ‘entirely too big.’ But while Paul remarked last month that the U.S. under the Biden administration was borrowing heavily from China just to send aid to Ukraine, McConnell instead emphasized Sunday that the deficit also expanded during the prior administration under former President Donald Trump.
‘You have to respond to conditions that actually exist that are a threat to the United States. The Iranians are a threat to us as well. And so, this is an emergency. It’s an emergency that we step up and deal with this axis of evil – China, Russia, Iran – because it’s an immediate threat to the United States,’ McConnell said.
‘In many ways the world is more endangered today than it has been in my lifetime,’ McConnell said, recalling that unlike when the Berlin Wall fell, the world faces a ‘big power competition’ coinciding with the terrorism threats in the Middle East and culminating in Israel’s war against Hamas terrorists.
‘The question is, is American going to lead?’ McConnell posed to Bream. ‘I think the Biden administration sent the wrong signal and they had the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. I think that was like giving a green light to Putin to go into Ukraine. And we see that Iran, principal sponsor of terrorism, sending drones to the Russians and attacking – Hezbollah and in this particular situation, Hamas – attacking the Israelis with drones. So it’s all connected. You can’t separate out one part of it and say we’re only gonna deal with this. It’s all connected.’
McConnell said, ‘We know which side they’re on’ in regard to China’s stance on the Israel-Hamas war, adding, ‘We need to view this as a worldwide problem.’
As for the budget supplemental, McConnell said Senate Republicans will want something ‘credible on the border,’ telling Bream, ‘If we’re going to accept the financial responsibility of helping our allies we certainly want to do something to help ourselves.’ Bream noted how Republicans like Sen. JD Vance of Ohio are critical of President Biden for tying Ukrainian aid to the atrocities seen in Israel during Hamas’ deadly Oct. 7 attack to ask Congress for more funding, but McConnell argued the conflicts are connected.
‘I don’t view this as about whether to give Biden credit or not. This is a question of whether it’s a serious threat to the United States. If the Russians aren’t defeated, they’ll go into a NATO country next,’ McConnell warned. ‘And the notion that somehow our Asian allies are unconcerned about Ukraine is completely wrong.’
‘The prime minister of Japan said if you want to send President Xi a message, beat the Russians in Ukraine,’ he continued. ‘The South Koreans, the Japanese, the Taiwanese are all interested in what’s happening over in Ukraine because they know President Xi is watching that. President Xi recently declared that they had an endless friendship with the Russians. What more do you need to know about how relevant Ukraine is to Asia and to the Middle East?’
As Russian President Vladimir Putin was in Beijing to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping last week, Bream asked McConnell what China might be making of Axios reporting that artillery shells the U.S. designated for Ukraine are being diverted to Israel and that Taiwan has millions of dollars worth of equipment and artillery that the U.S. has been unable to fulfill.
‘One of the best things about this from a U.S. point of view, is when we give older equipment to the Ukrainians for example, we are rebuilding our industrial base in this country. There are jobs being created by the help we’re providing Ukraine in 38 states. And rebuilding our industrial complex for the more serious big power threat in Asia. So the notion that our assistance for Ukraine is not helpful to us is something not factual.’