Oklahoma City, OK (March 7, 2022) – “Our current Senator, James Lankford, was busy last week stumping on TV, radio, and social media at every turn to talk about the war in Ukraine. But rather than using his platform to unify Americans behind defending democracy or presenting any real solutions to the crisis, he used his opportunity to take partisan shots at fellow American lawmakers. Further, his comments show a real lack of understanding of foreign policy, international law, the laws of war, the international economy, and how those things impact the world and impact us here in the United States.
Senator Lankford now appears to support providing military aid to Ukraine, but he was an active participant in the previous Administration’s effort to stall provision of military aid to the country while experts warned of increasing Russian aggression. He also cannot be absolved of his assent to the previous Administration’s weakening of intelligence on Russia and creating an environment in which Russia believed it could act contrary to international law without recourse. But of course, now that it appears politically favorable to be tough on Russia, Senator Lankford has changed his tune.
Earlier last month, as it became apparent that a Russian invasion of Ukraine was imminent, Senator Lankford suggested that the United States—without the agreement of our Allies—take preemptive action against Russia to try to prevent the war because “it is easier to stop a war before it starts than it is to end a war that is ongoing.” If only the world were as simple as Senator Lankford appears to see it, we would be safe with someone like him calling the shots. Preemptive action by the United States, as well as many of Senator Lankford’s other suggested actions in response to Russia’s aggression, are illegal and ignore the larger, complex issues involving our own armed forces and the possibility of triggering a nuclear crisis.
Senator Lankford’s comments are dangerous. The proper place to debate foreign policy is on the Senate floor—not with careless statements made on TV and social media to score political points. We must find strength in unity, and at a time when Americans and the world are ready to stand together in support of democracy, Senator Lankford chooses to expose and exacerbate our division, which is our greatest vulnerability.
Recently, in the same breath in which he complained about inflation and said the United States is the only country experiencing inflation—which is simply not true—Senator Lankford demanded that the United States immediately ban imports of Russian oil. While the United States should certainly examine our reliance on Russian energy resources, Senator Lankford’s suggestion ignores the immediate impact such a policy shift would have on millions of Americans at the gas pump. As usual, Senator Lankford claims to be concerned about inflation without presenting any real policy solutions.
The situation in Ukraine, Russia’s objectives, and the United States’ and international community’s roles are complex and cannot be fully or fairly discussed in sound bites, where Senator Lankford likes to operate. It is frustrating and disappointing to see Senator Lankford using the crisis in Ukraine and the plight of the Ukrainian people to further his own political agenda and further divide the American people.
At one of the most critical foreign and domestic policy junctures in our Nation’s history, we need leaders who put people over party, our collective future over scoring political points, and who are equipped with the skills and experience to solve the problems we face. I look forward to being at the table in 2023, and I continue to pray for the people of Ukraine.”