Georgia Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Green goaded the audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference into booing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
During her speech on Friday at the Gaylord National Resort Hotel And Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, Ms Greene told the audience that Mr Zelensky wanted “our sons and daughters to go die in Ukraine,” prompting boos from the audience.
“No money to Ukraine, and that country needs to find peace, not war,” Ms Greene added. “And while I will look at a camera and directly tell Zelensky you better leave your hands off our sons and daughters, because they’re not dying over there.”
An Associated Press fact-check states that footage of Mr Zelensky saying that Americans will need to send their “sons and daughters” to Europe has been taken out of context.
He was explaining that if Russia chose to attack members of NATO, which doesn’t include Ukraine, the US would probably have to send troops to protect their allies who are part of the military alliance. He wasn’t saying that the Americans would need to join the battle in Ukraine, as Ms Greene falsely claimed.
The clip of Mr Zelensky was taken from a live press conference lasting two hours on the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion. It showed Mr Zelensky speaking with the audio of a translator repeating what he was saying.
“The US will have to send their sons and daughters exactly the same way as we are sending their sons and daughters to war,” he said. “And they will have to fight. Because it’s NATO that we’re talking about, and they will be dying, god forbid, because it’s a horrible thing.”
Social media users shared the clip claiming that Mr Zelensky arguing for Americans to fight in Ukraine.
“Zelensky’ is a dangerous sociopath who wants your children to fight his war,” a tweet said, which was shared more than 4,000 times.
The full video reveals that Mr Zelensky was saying no such thing. He was laying out a hypothetical situation in which Russia was attacking members of NATO. He wasn’t saying that Americans should fight in Ukraine.
Mr Zelensky was responding to a question asking about what his message would be to Americans who believe that the US is providing too much support to Ukraine. He thanked the US for their support and went on to outline what may take place if Ukraine loses the conflict.
“The US is never going to give up on the NATO member states,” he says in the footage. “If it happens so that Ukraine, due to various opinions and weakening, depleting of assistance, loses, Russia is going to enter Baltic states, NATO member states, and then the US will have to send their sons and daughters exactly the same way as we are sending their sons and daughters to war. And they will have to fight. Because it’s NATO that we’re talking about, and they will be dying, god forbid, because it’s a horrible thing.”
There are no US forces in Ukraine, apart from a small detail protecting the US embassy, according to the Pentagon.
Ms Greene has previously criticised Mr Zelensky and the US support for Ukraine.
“Zelenskyy can’t even wear a tie as he greets the President of the United States,” she tweeted when President Joe Biden visited Kyiv. “He gladly takes our money in sweat shirts and t-shirts, but Biden is dressed up. So insulting. America Last!!!”
When South Carolina Republican Joe Wilson introduced a resolution to place a bust of Mr Zelensky in the US Capitol, Ms Greene tweeted: “Absolutely NOT! We serve AMERICA NOT UKRAINE!”
Ahead of Mr Zelensky’s visit and address to Congress, Ms Greene tweeted: “Of course the shadow president has to come to Congress and explain why he needs billions of American taxpayer dollars for the 51st state, Ukraine. This is absurd. Put America First!!!”
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