The Republican platform on supporting Ukraine against pro-Russian rebels was strengthened, not weakened, despite Democratic claims, Sen. Tom Cotton said Tuesday.
Cotton’s alleged correction came during Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ testimony before the Senate Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence regarding the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia.
“For the record, as stated earlier, the Republican platform was weakened on the point of arms for Ukraine. That’s incorrect,” the Arkansas senator said. “It was actually strengthened. I would add it was the Democratic president who refused requests to supply arms to Ukraine.”
The issue surrounds some language within the Republican Party platform’s policy plank on Ukraine during the party’s convention last summer. Some publications claimed that the Trump team had “weakened” the platform on aid to Ukraine by failing to add language calling for the U.S. to provide “lethal defensive weapons” to Ukraine. The final draft of the platform instead used the term “appropriate assistance.”
Byron York of the Washington Examiner debunked the claim that the platform was “weakened,” instead showing that, when read in its entirety, the platform was actually strengthened. York interviewed Diana Denman, a GOP delegate who suggested that the “lethal defensive weapons” language be added, who confirmed that the final document was stronger.
“The platform ended up tougher than it started, compared from the beginning to the end,” Denman told York, although she still believes lethal aid should have been included.
Cotton’s claim that former President Barack Obama prevented lethal arms aid to Ukraine is also accurate. The Obama administration avoided sending offensive weapons to Ukraine out of fear that they would escalate the conflict, despite bipartisan support for such a measure.
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