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White House press secretary Jen Psaki took a swipe at Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley on Wednesday, suggesting the lawmaker is consuming “Russian disinformation” and “parroting” talking points.
Psaki’s swipe at Hawley came after the senator called on the Biden administration to suspend its support for Ukraine to become a member of NATO and focus instead on blocking Chinese ambitions in the Indo-Pacific region.
“Sen. Hawley has a statement today saying that the president should sort of take NATO membership off the table for Ukraine, and it wasn’t in the U.S. interest to do that,” a reporter told Psaki.
“Do you think that sort rhetoric, that sort of position by a U.S. senator right now, is helpful? This showdown between the West and Russia?”
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Sen. Josh Hawley speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington on March 2, 2021. (Graeme Jennings/Washington Examiner/Bloomberg)
“Well, if you are just digesting Russian misinformation and parroting Russian talking points, you are not aligned with a long-standing bipartisan American values, which is to stand up for the sovereignty of countries like Ukraine,” Psaki retorted.
Psaki continued, “But others have their right to choose their own alliances and also to stand against very clearly the efforts or attempts or potential attempts by any country to invade and take territory of another country.”
Members of Ukraine’s Territorial Defense Forces, volunteer military units of the Armed Forces, train in a city park in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
“That applies to Sen. Hawley, but it also applies to others who may be parroting the talking points of Russian propaganda leaders,” she concluded.
The White House is backing away from its characterization that Russia’s invasion into Ukraine is “imminent,” saying officials “still don’t know” if Russian President Vladimir Putin has “made a decision” on incursion.
During the White House press briefing Wednesday, Pskai said she has not used the term “imminent” to describe the invasion in more than a week.
“I used that once. I think others have used that once, and then we stopped using it because I think it sent a message that we weren’t intending to send, which was that we knew that President Putin had made a decision,” Psaki said. “We still don’t know that he’s made a decision.”
Fox News’s Peter Aiken contributed to this report.
Timothy Nerozzi is a writer for Fox News Digital. You can follow him on Twitter @timothynerozzi and can email him at email@example.com