Republican Representative Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina attacked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, referring to him as a "thug" and appearing to blame him for the ongoing Russian invasion of his country when he suggested Zelenskyy pushed "woke ideologies" in Ukraine.
Cawthorn's attack was recorded on video, which was first reported by WRAL, an NBC-affiliate licensed to Raleigh, North Carolina.
You can hear Cawthorn's remarks in the video below.
Madison Cawthorn calls Ukraine President Zelenskyy "A thug" youtu.be
"Remember that Zelenskyy is a thug. Remember that the Ukrainian government is incredibly corrupt and is incredibly evil and has been pushing woke ideologies."
It is unclear where the video was taken as Cawthorn hosted several events with his supporters this past weekend.
When challenged, Cawthorn attempted to walk back his remarks, calling Russian President Vladimir Putin's actions "disgusting," telling WRAL reporters that he is "praying for Ukraine and the Ukrainian people."
Cawthorn's comments, which parrot further conspiracy theories elevated by both Republicans and Russian propagandists, were harshly criticized.
Several suggested that Cawthorn mind his own "thuggish behavior," pointing to his recent arrests for speeding and for driving with a revoked license.
Cawthorn's comments bring to mind similar commentary from former President Donald Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon, who offered praise for Putin, suggesting that the United States should support Putin even as he proceeds with a violent invasion of Ukraine because he is "anti-woke" and has criticized his country's LGBTQ+ community for openly flying Pride flags.
Bannon, speaking on his War Room podcast during an interview with Erik Prince, the CEO of the private military contractor Blackwater, suggested that the United States should consider forming an alliance with Russia over China but made the erroneous claim that such a notion runs counter to views of a "woke America."
Bannon and Prince proceeded to mock the LGBTQ+ community, saying that Putin is "anti-woke" and that the Russians "still know which bathroom to use" because they've accepted that there are merely "two" genders.
“They don’t have the flags, they don’t have the Pride flags outside of their–" Bannon said, though he didn't finish his sentence before Prince proceeded to mock transgender athletes by stating that the Russians "don’t have boys swimming in girls’ college swim meets."