Politics

Gosar And AOC On the Same Side? "Hell Hath Frozen," Arizona's Congressman Says

U.S. Rep Paul Gosar joined an unexpected coalition of lawmakers requesting that no U.S. troops enter Ukraine without congressional approval
U.S. Rep Paul Gosar joined an unexpected coalition of lawmakers requesting that no U.S. troops enter Ukraine without congressional approval Gage Skidmore
No one expected U.S. Representative Paul Gosar, a darling of Arizona's far-right, and lefty New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to see eye to eye about much of anything.

But the two joined a surprising coalition of 43 lawmakers who signed a letter to President Joe Biden requesting that he not send any U.S. troops to Ukraine without prior authorization from Congress.

Lawmakers who signed the letter included Republican Arizona Representatives Andy Biggs and David Schweikert, embattled U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida, as well as some of the most progressive lawmakers on Capitol Hill: U.S. Representatives Rashida Tlaib, Cori Bush, and Ilhan Omar.

"Hell hath frozen," Gosar tweeted this week.

All eyes were on Ukraine Thursday as Russia launched a military attack on its neighbor in the early hours of the morning. Shells and missiles rained down on multiple cities across the country, killing dozens, according to Ukrainian officials.

In an address to the nation Thursday, Biden condemned the attack. Although the U.S. has sent thousands of troops to Poland and Romania to reinforce NATO territory in recent weeks, in anticipation of the conflict, the president said Thursday he would not send troops to Ukraine.

Still, the letter's signatories expressed concerns that the situation could escalate and spur the U.S. to intervene.

"The American people, through their representatives in Congress, deserve to have a say before U.S. troops are placed in harm's way or the U.S. becomes involved in yet another foreign conflict," it reads.

While the signatories represent a broad cut of the political spectrum, their motivations for signing the letter vary — from the anti-war position of the traditional left to the right's isolationist lens.

Statements from some of Arizona's local politicos proved that on Thursday.

State Senator Wendy Rogers, who represents the state's sixth district, went on a tirade on Telegram on Thursday in opposition to military action in Ukraine.

"Send our real troops to the border," Rogers said, berating transgender soldiers.

Somehow, her comments opposing U.S. troops in Eastern Europe included calls for the U.S. to annex the Panama Canal, slurs against trans people, and requests to send tanks to the U.S.-Mexico border.

She also — of course — framed the global conflict as a consequence of a "stolen election."

More people inside Arizona's Republican ranks, including state Representative Mark Finchem and gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, also took the opportunity to emphasize a "rigged" election on Thursday as the cause of conflict in Ukraine.

Lake also compared the violence abroad to migrants at Arizona's southern border. "Both are being invaded," she tweeted.

Though he did not sign the letter, Democratic U.S. Representative Ruben Gallego, who represents Arizona's seventh congressional district, said Thursday he did not support U.S. intervention in Ukraine.

"At this point, I don't think troops should be directly involved," the former marine told radio station KTAR on Thursday morning.

"I think we have to be very clear with Russia that we're going to continue to support Ukrainian resistance," Gallego said.
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Katya Schwenk is a staff writer for Phoenix New Times. Originally from Burlington, Vermont, she now covers issues ranging from policing to far-right politics here in Phoenix. She has worked as a breaking news correspondent in Rabat, Morocco, for Morocco World News, a government technology reporter for Scoop News Group in Washington, D.C., and a local reporter in Vermont for VTDigger. Her freelance work has been published in Business Insider, the Intercept, and the American Prospect, among other places.
Contact: Katya Schwenk