Putin’s Useful Idiots: Right Wingers Lose It Over Zelensky Visit
Plus, The Evolution of a Christmas Antipasto.
Recently at The Bulwark:
CHARLIE SYKES: MAGA's Meltdown Over Zelensky
You can support The Bulwark by subscribing to Bulwark+ or just by sharing this newsletter with someone you think would value it.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s surprise arrival in Washington on Wednesday for a meeting with President Joe Biden and a speech before Congress has unhinged the always-seething anti-Ukraine Trumpian right, triggering a deluge of snark and grievance. For instance, after the Washington Examiner’s Byron York tut-tutted that Zelensky was about to tell Congress that U.S. aid to Ukraine so far was not enough, the former First Son weighed in with this.
“National conservative” pundit and Newsweek opinion editor Josh Hammer, who played the “obviously Putin is a thug and Ukraine is the victim here, but . . .” game in the early days of the war, went full Putin this time around.
To top it off, Hammer, who shares Zelensky’s Jewish heritage, also accused the Ukrainian president of being a bad Jew—unseemly under any circumstances, but all the more so considering that only a few days earlier, Hammer had been spotted at a New York Young Republicans’ Club Gala in the company of various alt-right types with, shall we say, a complicated relationship to anti-Semitism. (Among them: Rep. Marjorie “Jewish Space Lasers” Taylor Greene, the founders of the white-nationalist website VDARE, and erstwhile Jew-baiting troll Jack Posobiec.)
After a four-year odyssey, in which Donald Trump pulled every conceivable lever to evade public access to his personal tax returns, the House Ways and Means Committee voted on Tuesday to release them for years 2015 to 2020. Although the actual returns will take a few days to become public, the committee staff offered a report on Tuesday detailing “noteworthy issues” but expressing no opinion on the accuracy of the returns or whether Trump underpaid his taxes. The committee explained that it lacked “investigatory powers,” such as the ability to interview the IRS agents assigned to the audits, so a definitive word on whether Trump cheated on his taxes is not forthcoming, at least not from the committee.
Zelensky didn’t hit a wrong note, and he embodied the Ukrainian people’s will to freedom on the floor of the US Congress. Plus, from a realpolitik perspective, the degradation of Russian military power via US aid to Ukraine is a bargain. Amb. Eric Edelman joins guest host Bill Kristol today
The fight against Putin and the fight against Trump are cousins, so how poetic is it that Zelensky and the January 6 report both show up on nearly the same day? Plus, is Trump getting too tired to fight? Bill Kristol joins guest host JVL for a special bonus episode.
Bulwark+ members can listen to an ad-free version of these podcasts on the player of their choice. Learn more at Bulwark+ Podcast FAQ.
ADDISON DEL MASTRO: The Evolution of a Christmas Antipasto.
Are there any foods as rich with nostalgia as those eaten on or around Christmas? Marcel Proust’s epic novel of personal remembrance, In Search of Lost Time, grew to over 3,000 pages following one character’s memory-unlocking bite of a madeleine tea cake; if he’d tasted a bit of honeyed ham instead, I have to think the books would have been three times as long.
For me and my wife this year, the foods of the holiday have taken on the additional flavors of hope and anticipation. That’s because for the first time ever, we will be hosting Christmas in our new house. It feels as though this is the moment for us to decisively take up the baton of our families’ holiday eating traditions, which we adapt and alter to fit our own lives without always realizing how much we’ve changed them.
REMINDER: There is no Thursday Night Bulwark this week. We’ll see you in 2023!
A very particular Senator… Here is the memo on how to staff Sen. Sinema. Most offices have such memos, but very few are this.. peculiar and particular.
It’s that time of year… The Hater’s Guide to the 2022 Williams Sonoma catalog. (I would love a restaurant-quality ice maker, but for $600? No thanks! That’s half as much as a new fridge.)
Journalists watching holiday movies… Yes, we’re pedants.
Treat yourself for the holidays… With a special subscription deal for Bulwark+.
Stop With The Socks And Fruitcake… You can get a holiday steal on Matt Labash’s must-read newsletter. (Or give it as a gift!)
Don’t ask the sports guy to do weather… It’s a mistake.
That’s it for me. Tech support questions? Email email@example.com. Questions for me? Respond to this message.
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. For full credits, please consult the article.