Mitt Romney Denounces The Right Wing Parroting Of Putin

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Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) — a rare voice of relative reason, at least in terms of Republicans, within the GOP these days — joined those criticizing former Hawaii Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard this week after she pushed the false claim that there are U.S.-funded “biolabs” in Ukraine. The United States, Biden administration press secretary Jen Psaki recently said, “is in full compliance with its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological Weapons Convention and does not develop or possess such weapons anywhere.” Gabbard wasn’t referring to something else; she established that what she was talking about was what the Biden administration was supposedly trying to cover up. It’s not as though Russian officials such as those who’ve promoted false biological/ chemical weapons claims are credible — Russia has characterized the unfolding war in Ukraine as a confrontation with armed factions in the country, which is false. Russia has threatened and killed thousands of civilians, and such attacks are continuing.

Romney, meanwhile, commented as follows:

‘Tulsi Gabbard is parroting false Russian propaganda. Her treasonous lies may well cost lives.’

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As Gabbard falsely claimed in her original post: “There are 25+ US-funded biolabs in Ukraine which if breached would release & spread deadly pathogens to US/world. We must take action now to prevent disaster. US/Russia/Ukraine/NATO/UN/EU must implement a ceasefire now around these labs until they’re secured & pathogens destroyed.” She spoke with the confidence of a conspiracy theorist who’s fully immersed in their destructively delusional nonsense. In her previous refutation of the notion that there’s U.S. money funding biolabs in Ukraine, Psaki explained: “We took note of Russia’s false claims about alleged U.S. biological weapons labs and chemical weapons development in Ukraine. We’ve also seen Chinese officials echo these conspiracy theories. This is preposterous. It’s the kind of disinformation operation we’ve seen repeatedly from the Russians over the years in Ukraine and in other countries, which have been debunked, and an example of the types of false pretexts we have been warning the Russians would invent.”

Troublingly, Gabbard isn’t alone in spreading this notion. Fox host Tucker Carlson also recently claimed in reference to the imaginary biological weapons labs that “the Russian disinformation they’ve been telling us for days is a lie, and a conspiracy theory, and crazy, and immoral to believe is, in fact, totally and completely true.” It’s not. Carlson tied his claims otherwise to recent comments from U.S. Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland, who said during a Senate hearing that “Ukraine has biological research facilities, which, in fact, we are now quite concerned Russian forces may be seeking to gain control of… So, we are working with the Ukrainians on how they can prevent any of those research materials from falling into the hands of Russian forces should they approach.” Biological research facilities that look into dangerous pathogens are not the same thing as “biolabs” that produce weapons. And as for the materials with which the labs do work, “the Ukrainian Ministry of Health responsibly ordered the safe and secure disposal of samples. These actions limit the danger of an accidental release of pathogens should Russia’s military attack laboratories,” the Defense Department said.