The Jolt: Zelenskyy address brings out dove-hawk debate within Georgia’s delegation

Zelensky Invokes Pearl Harbor and 9/11 During Appeal to US Congress for Military Aid

Zelensky Invokes Pearl Harbor and 9/11 During Appeal to US Congress for Military Aid

What if attacks the magnitude of Pearl Harbor or 9/11 happened to the United States not just all at once but for three weeks straight? That was the picture Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy painted for members of Congress during a Wednesday morning address.

Lawmakers said they were especially moved by a video Zelenskyy shared documenting the impact of Russia’s shelling on his country.

“The images of the real human suffering on the ground are beyond anything words can express,” U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock said. “So, I’m proud of the ways in which we’re standing up at this moment, rallying the world in support of Ukraine and defending their right to sovereignty.”

Warnock said he wants the U.S. to continue working with NATO and other allies, keep up its aid and other support to Ukraine but avoid escalating the conflict into another World War.

U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter also wanted a measured response, saying “Ukraine doesn’t need our boots on the ground, but they do need planes in the sky.”

But two other members of Georgia’s delegation have taken more extreme positions although at different ends of the spectrum. On one side, there is U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene who in a video posted on Facebook said she would not support sending more money or help to Ukraine.

Putin’s actions are unacceptable, she said, but America is close to being drawn into a war and needs to focus instead on domestic issues like inflation. She said the only role the White House should have is bringing Ukraine and Russia to the table to broker peace talks.

“We can do all this without sending a dime and without shipping bombs to further inflame a war whose outcome already seems certain,” Greene, R-Rome, said. “We can do it without risking the dollar and therefore risking our economy, our jobs and our homes.”

We’ll note here that the two countries have been talking and there have even been ceasefire offers, but Russia continues to shell Ukraine.

Which brings us to the other side of the debate via U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop. President Joe Biden has been reluctant to agree to Zelenskyy’s request for fighter jets and for America to help enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine, which means shooting down Russian planes.

Bishop said he is ready to consider it, even though he knows it risks dragging the U.S. into war.

“I think that at some point we and the NATO and the world community are going to have to put up and we are going to have to decide how far we will go to stop this bully,” Bishop, a Democrat from Albany, said. “Whenever you are confronted with a bully, the only way to stop that bully is to let them know that they will be faced with a fight.”

For now, Congress is only considering more sanctions against Russia. The House will vote today to suspend normal trade relations with Russia and its ally Belarus. And the White House announced Wednesday that it is sending anti-aircraft missiles, anti-armor systems, small firearms and 20 million rounds of ammo to Ukraine.


Georgia native Lisa Cook is one step closer to becoming the first Black woman to serve on the Federal Reserve board, but she is not out of the woods yet.

The Senate Banking Committee met last night to consider four nominees to the Fed, now that Republicans have ended their protest over nominee Sarah Bloom Raskin. She withdrew her application this week when it became clear she didn’t have the votes to be confirmed.

A majority of committee members signed off on most of the appointees, including a second term for Fed chair Jay Powell. But Lisa Cook’s nomination ended on a partisan 12-12 tie, Punchbowl News reports.

Still, that means the full Senate can now consider Cook’s nomination. As long as all 50 Democrats back her, along with Vice President Kamala Harris, she can be confirmed.


Outgoing U.S. Senate, Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black said he voted for Herschel Walker in the U.S. Senate runoff earlier this month. Walker lost the election to U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock. (File photos)

Credit: File photo

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Credit: File photo

The gloves are off in the Republican race for U.S. Senate.

Not long ago, Herschel Walker’s rivals were somewhat reluctant to criticize the frontrunner. Over the opening months of the campaign, Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black was the only GOP candidate willing to bash Walker over his history of violent behavior and tightlipped approach to the media.

Now the other two top Republican contenders are getting in on the act.

Former Navy SEAL Latham Saddler told us in an interview that Walker was running an “entitlement campaign” based on his celebrity as a former football player.

“He abandoned Georgia, came back just to run for the United States Senate. And he’s doing the Biden basement strategy, expecting to be handed this thing. In a great state like ours, a U.S. Senate race should be difficult,” said Saddler.

“It should have to be earned. And that’s what Georgians want and expect. They want leadership. They want people that will show up. I mean, it’s clear he’s not willing to debate any of us. So, my question to the voters out there is how’s that gonna work against Raphael Warnock?”

Likewise for Kelvin King, who has long resisted criticizing Walker but this week penned an op-Ed that he shared with your Insiders. Here’s a snippet:

Herschel Walker talks about working hard and fighting for the interests of Georgians, yet he works behind the scenes to ensure a level of celebrity comfort and elusiveness, separating himself from the questions and engagement that Georgians demand. This is a campaign - not an autograph tour for those who can pay an access fee.

I am not naive to the fact Herschel Walker is ahead in the polls. The problem is, neither is he. When he officially qualified last week, reporters swarmed to the typically evasive candidate, hungry to finally have an opportunity to ask him questions. The results were, as one might expect, puzzling. Speaking about himself in third person, he gave mostly baffling responses to basic inquiries but what did come across loud and clear was he has zero intention of debating in the primary.

And Black, of course, has only sharpened his message. Look no further than the scathing digital ad we first told you about in yesterday’s jolt that outlined the potential lines of attack from Warnock.

All the while, Walker has tried to remain above the fray, avoiding uttering his rivals’ name, even as some senior Republicans worry about his string of baffling statements.

His campaign spokeswoman Mallory Blount has, however, responded to the latest Black attack: “The only thing more embarrassing than Gary Black’s obsession with Herschel Walker is Gary’s fundraising and poll numbers.”



  • 8:30 a.m.: Committee work begins;
  • 10:00 a.m.: The House convenes;
  • 10:00 a.m.: The Senate gavels in.


Tuesday was the first time in the past seven years of trying that horse racing legislation made it to the Senate floor for a vote, and it didn’t even make it out of the starting gate.

Senate leadership doesn’t typically allow a bill to get a floor vote unless they know it’s going to pass, so for some it was shocking to see Senate Resolution 131 go down the flames.

Since the resolution regarded a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would have allowed Georgians to bet on horse racing, two-thirds of each chamber were needed to approve the measure. Thirty-eight “yes” votes were needed for the bill to advance; the final tally was five short.

Senate Rules Chairman Jeff Mullis, a Chickamauga Republican who sponsored the legislation, said he was disappointed the vote didn’t go his way.

“Look. We didn’t have the votes yesterday, but this ship has not sailed yet,” Mullis told our AJC colleague Maya T. Prabhu on Wednesday. “We will be looking to find a way to go forward with the issue.”

One option could be changes to a Senate resolution that asks voters to allow online sports betting in the state. And that’s exactly what Mike Griffin, a lobbyist with the Georgia Baptists Mission, is keeping an eye out for.

“We realize that while we may have won the battle, the war is not over,” he said. “Because we still have to deal with potential gambling legislation from the House. So, it’ll be interesting to see whether or not the sports betting legislation gets a hearing over here.”


Wednesday in the Capitol:

  • Gov. Brian Kemp signed the FY 2022 Amended Budget, which Kemp noted in a signing ceremony, restores all pre-pandemic austerity cuts. It includes a $2,000 bonus for public school employees and adds to health and public safety budgets.
  • The state Senate passed HB 1302, which gives a one-time $250 tax refund to Georgia filers this year.


While Herschel Walker’s comments questioning evolution and reproductive medicine caught national attention this week, he also spoke Tuesday at the Rotary Club of Carrollton where he appeared to falsely suggest that NATO hasn’t been involved in working to deter Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Here’s part of his comments:

“What’s going on in Ukraine is terrible. “And NATO have to get -- I’m not sure why they’re not getting involved. You know, you let somebody threaten you. Putin is threatening you, if you don’t -- if you get involved. He’s not as powerful as they think he is. He’s not as powerful as they think he is, or he wouldn’t be doing what he’s doing right now.

“So, should we use our strength? I think if I was Biden, which I’m not because I’m younger, I would really pressure NATO to get involved.”


Former President Donald Trump had some glowing words for David Perdue last night at a pricey fundraiser that raised about $600,000 for his bid for governor. He also had some choice ones about Gov. Brian Kemp.

“David is running against Brian Kemp, a horrendous RINO who has betrayed the people of Georgia, and betrayed Republican voters.”

We’ll see what he has to say about Vernon Jones and his rivals in the 10th Congressional District race at Jones’ Mar-a-Lago fundraiser later tonight.


Speaking of David Perdue, Medium Buying reports that Georgia Action Fund, the pro-David Perdue PAC that spent heavily for Perdue in his race against Jon Ossoff, is placing its first TV ad spending of the cycle. It’s going up with a “significant buy” in Atlanta, Augusta and Chattanooga markets starting Friday.


In endorsement news:

  • State Sen. Tyler Harper, the lone GOP candidate for the vacant agriculture commissioner seat, earned Gov. Brian Kemp’s endorsement.
  • Nina Turner, an Ohio Democratic congressional candidate and high-profile Bernie Sanders booster in 2020, has endorsed Vincent Fort in his challenge to U.S. Rep. David Scott in the 13th Congressional District.
  • Mallory Staples, one of several Republicans running in the 6th Congressional District, has been endorsed by U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina, Veterans for America First, and Christian author Erik Metaxas.
  • End Citizens United/Let America Vote, a group that supports an overhaul of campaign finance laws, is backing U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath in Georgia’s 7th Congressional District contest.


U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, the first Black man to hold the position in Georgia, met Wednesday with Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, nominated to become the first Black woman on the Supreme Court.

We were in the room for the historic meeting.


Stacey Abrams has a net worth of roughly $3.17 million, mostly connected to real estate and investments. But her books and public appearances allowed her to earn more than $6.5 million since the beginning of 2019, according to financial disclosures filed as a candidate for governor.

Gov. Brian Kemp has yet to file his most recent financial reports, though in the past he’s listed many assets. Former U.S. Sen. David Perdue, Kemp’s primary opponent, reported a net worth of roughly $50 million.

Speaking of Abrams, she has taken her Star Trek fandom to a new level with a cameo on “Star Trek: Discovery” as president of United Earth.


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