State GOP chair David Shafer faced a torrent of criticism and the threat of a formal censure from fellow Republicans after he quoted a tweet from the Kremlin criticizing the Biden Administration’s stance on a U.N resolution introduced by Russia.
Shafer’s tweet Sunday questioned why the U.S. and Ukraine voted against the resolution, which was critical of Nazism. He mused that Biden and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky “fell into a somewhat obvious trap” by opposing it.
His post highlighted a December tweet from Russia’s U.N. delegation regarding the resolution, which came to a vote as Vladimir Putin was readying his military to invade Ukraine.
The U.S. has voted against the Russia-backed U.N. resolution each time it has come up since 2005 – including during former President Donald Trump’s administration in 2019 and 2020.
U.S. officials say the resolutions are “thinly veiled attempts to legitimize Russian disinformation campaigns denigrating neighboring nations.”
The most recent version was seen by foreign policy experts as an attempt to justify the Russian invasion by furthering Vladimir Putin’s false narrative that Ukraine needed “denazifying.”
Shafer’s remarks on Sunday brought swift condemnation. Erick Erickson, a conservative commentator, accused Shafer of “spreading Russian propaganda.” Jason Shepherd, a former Cobb GOP chair who now serves on the party’s state committee, said he’ll seek to censure Shafer.
“There is no excuse for Shafer to keep that tweet up, especially once he was told this policy has gone back to 2005 and was supported by both the George W. Bush and Donald J. Trump administrations,” said Shepherd, who lost a bid to chair the state GOP last year.
Shafer faces a different sort of scrutiny for his role in pushing an alternate slate of Georgia electors after Trump lost the state’s vote. He was recently interviewed by federal lawmakers probing the pro-Trump mob that attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Shafer, who has also praised Zelensky’s leadership, said he initially thought the tweet he shared from Russia’s U.N. mission about the resolution was a “lie or a hoax, but apparently not.”
He also assailed President Joe Biden, saying his “foreign policy weakness has emboldened the world’s predators and made the planet a less safe place.”
Former Republican state Rep. Scot Turner, who once represented a deeply conservative exurban territory, accused Shafer of trying to deflect attention by attacking Biden.
“We can be concerned about those things,” Turner said of Biden’s record, “at the same time that we are concerned that our party chairman is spreading Russian propaganda.”