Polish PM Donald Tusk says Reagan ‘must be turning in his grave’ after Republicans stall Ukraine aid package

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Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk torched American Republican senators on Thursday after an additional $60 billion in U.S. aid for Ukraine stalled in a recent vote. 

“Dear Republican Senators of America. Ronald Reagan, who helped millions of us to win back our freedom and independence, must be turning in his grave today. Shame on you,” Tusk wrote in a post on the X, invoking the former Republican president and his efforts in the 1980s to support Poland’s struggle to shake off Moscow’s dominance. 

Poland borders Ukraine and has been pressing the U.S. and Europe for unwavering support for Kyiv’s forces nearly two years after Russia’s full-scale invasion, as security concerns for NATO members and allies in the region mount. In a national election in November, Polish voters turned out in huge numbers to embrace Tusk and more centrist, moderate conservative and left-wing parties after eight years of rule by a nationalist conservative party that was at odds with the European Union. 

The country saw tens of thousands of demonstrators take to the streets in support of “God, Family and Fatherland” after the election signaled a more globalist shift. The European Union had blasted the previous Warsaw government for not ending an impasse at the Poland-Ukraine border in protest of grain imports and favorable treatment for Ukrainian truckers. 

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Tusk in Brussels

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk before an EU Summit on Feb. 2, 2024 in Brussels to discuss the 2021-2027 budgetary plan and Hungary’s blocking of a $54 billion military and financial support package for Ukraine. (Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)

In response to Tusk’s rebuke of U.S. Republicans, Polish conservative journalist Wojciech Wybranowski wrote, “In Poland, we are also fighting a silent battle. A silent war against economic backwardness, against social exclusion, economic exclusion, against competition from Germany.” Reagan “might be ashamed for today’s Republicans in the US, but the great men of independent Poland: Grabski, Kwiatkowski etc. would be ashamed today for the ineptitude of you and your associates,” he wrote to Tusk. 

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday failed to pass a supplemental spending agreement that included aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, as well as an ambitious border security and immigration package that drew widespread opposition from conservative Republicans in both chambers since its release on Sunday.

Wednesday’s vote was 49-50. It needed 60 votes to pass. The vote went mostly along party lines, except for five Democratic no votes and four Republicans voting yes. 

Sens. Ed Markey, D-Mass.; Bob Menendez, D-N.J.; Alex Padilla, D-Calif.; Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.; and Elizabeth Warren, D-Ma., voted against, with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., also voting against as a procedural move to allow it to be reconsidered at a future time. Republicans voting yes were Sens. James Lankford, R-Okla.; Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska; Susan Collins, R-Maine; and Mitt Romney, R-Utah. The package had been negotiated for months by Sens. Lankford; Chris Murphy, D-Conn.; Krysten Sinema, I-Ariz.; and Biden administration officials.

Schumer talks foreign aid

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., center, discusses next steps for the foreign aid package for Ukraine and Israel on the day after the bipartisan Senate border security bill collapsed, at the Capitol in Washington, Feb. 7, 2024. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The $118 billion package included $60 billion for Ukraine, $14 billion for Israel, aid to Taiwan, humanitarian assistance to Gaza and $20 billion in measures to tackle the historic and ongoing crisis at the southern border. 

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After Wednesday’s rejection of the supplemental, Schumer tried to push ahead to a crucial test vote on a $95 billion package for Ukraine, Israel and other U.S. allies – a modified package with the border portion stripped out. The standalone $95 billion package would invest in domestic defense manufacturing, send funding to allies in Asia and provide $10 billion for humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, Israel, Gaza and other places.

The White House said President Biden believes there should be a new border policy but would also support moving the aid for Ukraine and Israel alone, as he has from the start.

McConnell after supplemental failed

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks to a vote in the Senate Chambers at the U.S. Capitol on Feb. 7, 2024 in Washington, D.C. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

“We support this bill which would protect America’s national security interests by stopping Putin’s onslaught in Ukraine before he turns to other countries, helping Israel defend itself against Hamas terrorists and delivering life-saving humanitarian aid to innocent Palestinian civilians,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said. 

Even though support for Ukraine has been a top priority for Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, the deeply divided Republican conference was scrambling to find support for the wartime funding. After former President Trump eviscerated the Senate’s bipartisan border proposal, House Speaker Mike Johnson said the package would be dead on arrival. Trump has also led many Republicans to question aid for Ukraine and insist on an exit strategy. 

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As a result of the impasse, the U.S. has halted arms shipments to Ukraine at a crucial point in the nearly two-year conflict.

Fox News’ Adam Shaw and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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