NBC presidential historian Michael Beschloss sometimes writes speeches for Joe Biden. He’s a partisan Democrat. After Wednesday night’s joint Congressional address by Ukraine President Zelensky, Beschloss was perturbed that some Republicans didn’t stand and applaud each time there was a standing ovation for Zelensky. What are they, Putin supporters? He took to Twitter and demanded to know who didn’t show up, who didn’t stand up, and what were they thinking. That doesn’t sound too fascist, does it? Ahem.
If you watched the speech, which was excellent, by the way, you know that Zelensky received numerous standing ovations and even more bursts of applause from the members of Congress. Clearly, he was in very friendly territory. But, Beschloss chose to see something wrong where there really wasn’t anything. Some of the members to which he refers are the same ones who frequently sit and do not applaud when attending Congressional addresses. Beschloss wanted something to grouse about against Republicans while offering his paid commentary on television, so he chose an easy target – the more controversial Republicans.
How many Members of Congress refused to attend tonight’s speech because they do not support Zelenskyy’s Ukraine? Important to know this and why.
— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) December 22, 2022
On Wednesday evening, the historian tweeted, “For any Members of Congress who refused to clap for Zelenskyy, we need to know from them exactly why.”
He followed up by asking, “How many Members of Congress refused to attend tonight’s speech because they do not support Zelenskyy’s Ukraine? Important to know this and why.”
Why is it important to know this? Is Beschloss suggesting he is entitled to know the private thoughts of elected officials? Is he the self-appointed thought police now? What a load of arrogance and self-importance. It was a lame, lazy attack meant to throw a little red meat to the viewing audience.
Conservatives on Twitter compared his insistence on being the thought police to old Soviet Union-style techniques.
Pro-life writer Annette Jals wrote, “Nice. @BeschlossDC showing his love for Soviet tactics. It’s well known that when Stalin spoke to crowds, the NKVD would monitor people to determine who wasn’t clapping or who stopped clapping first. This often resulted in applause sessions that seemed endless.”
Conservative influencer Márta Lisle provided her rationale for not being a fan of Zelenskyy, tweeting, “Zelenskyy banned the Orthodox Church, opposition political parties, free press, is monitoring Christian religious activities and threatening imprisonment. Maybe that’s why.”
Prominent Twitter conservative Dale Stark mocked Beschloss over the Soviet-sounding nature of his tweet. He wrote, “We also need to know who clapped with insufficient enthusiasm and who stopped clapping first.”
In a video clip shown on Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox Thursday night, Beschloss actually asks if the Republicans are Putin supporters. You can support Ukraine’s right to defend itself from Putin’s invasion and also be critical of some of the moves Zelensky makes. Both can be true. It certainly doesn’t mean those who didn’t fangirl Zelensky chose to support Putin. Good Lord.
Ukraine is a notoriously corrupt country. Remember, it’s the country that hired Hunter Biden for an extraordinary amount of money as an energy expert when he had absolutely no experience or knowledge of the industry. They hired him for his last name and access to Sleepy Joe. Zelensky has done some questionable things as he fights for the freedom of Ukraine, including jailing journalists and banning an Orthodox Christian church. It’s ok to question that. It’s also ok to ask some questions as to where all the money the U.S. taxpayers are giving Ukraine goes and see some accountability for it. None of that means anyone is choosing Putin.
Something I noticed about Zelensky’s time with Congress – Nancy Pelosi should feel embarrassed about how giddy she was around Zelensky. She was jumping up and clapping with extra enthusiasm for everything he said and even blowing him kisses. It was ridiculous. Don’t get me wrong, I admire the courage and conviction Zelensky shows but c’mon. She was like a teenager with a crush, not the Speaker of the House sitting next to Kamala, the vice-president. Kamala was very excited to see Zelensky, too, but not as crazy as Pelosi. It was all so cringeworthy.
Self-important historians don’t get to question what a lawmaker is thinking while listening to a foreign leader and they don’t get to demand to know why they don’t applaud a speaker. Beschloss deserved to be mocked and criticized about his tweet. Groupthink is demanded by progressives and it’s destructive. And tiresome.