A leading Republican senator took Democrats to task on Sunday for attempting to deflect blame for inflation and spiking gas prices from President Joe Biden’s economic policies.
Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming ABC News interview with George Stephanopoulos, refuting the host after he mentioned that Democrats are trying to put the blame on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Well, Joe Biden can’t hide from the fact that he is the president of high gas prices,” Barrasso said.
“And they’re looking for anyone to blame, whether it’s Putin, whether it’s Republicans, whether it’s the energy companies, whether it’s COVID,” he continued.
“The Democrats have a very big problem with 40-year high inflation, highest gas prices ever,” he added, noting that gas prices and inflation, in general, have been rising steadily since former President Donald Trump left office.
“When Joe Biden came into office, it was $2.38 a gallon for gasoline. Americans paid $1,000 more for energy last year than the year before,” the Wyoming senator said.
“And on polling last week, 70 percent of Americans say more American oil and gas and less emphasis on climate,” he noted.
. can't hide from the fact that he is the president of high gas prices. Democrats are looking for anyone to blame, whether it's Putin, Republicans, energy companies, or Covid. They have a very big problem with 40-year high inflation and the highest gas prices ever.
— Sen. John Barrasso
Here’s a partial transcript of the rest of the conversation:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s talk about the war in Ukraine. What should the United States be doing right now that it’s not doing?
BARRASSO: Well, first, you just had Senator Durbin on. He and I were in Ukraine together in 2014, the day that Russia took Crimea.
There’s a bipartisan group of senators right now at the border between Poland and Ukraine. There is a bipartisan, committed group in Washington committed to helping the heroic people of Ukraine. So proud of President Zelenskyy and the courage that he has shown. And, in Congress, we are trying to get the administration on board to a level that we feel we’ve filled the void in a bipartisan way.
The president has had to be pushed and pulled to where he is today. It was Congress that brought about sanctions, that brought about the ban on Russian oil, that brought about weapons and all of this big aid package that I voted for a week or two ago, $13 billion. So far the administration has only released $1 billion of that. And if — as President — I think if they’d done more in sanctions, we might not have been in this situation if they had done punishing sanctions before the tanks began to roll.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator, one —
BARRASSO: President Biden is going to NATO this week. He’s — he’s going to — he’s going to NATO this week. And if he wants to lead from the front and America lead from the front rather than leading from behind, there are three specific things he needs to do, in my opinion, at NATO this week.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What are the three specific things?
BARRASSO: Well, number one is, he needs to tell NATO that we collectively are going to supply the people of Ukraine things that they know how to use, whether it’s drones, planes, missile systems. Number two, he has to say that he is going to go from Brussels to the eastern front of NATO to show the resolve of NATO and the United States’ commitment as well. And, third, he needs to say to the people of Europe who are really in a tough situation with regard to energy and the dependence that they have on Russian energy, that we are going to increase the exporting of liquified natural gas from America to them.
Even Germany has come up to the fact that they said, look, energy security, George, is much more important than climate zealotry. The president needs to lead by saying, we are going to increase production of oil and natural gas in the United States, we’re going to send it to you and we — that’s what — what leadership is all about. I have legislation, in a bipartisan way, to make that possible.