Senator Joni Ernst is the latest Iowa lawmaker who’s been permanently banned from entering Russia, but her Republican counterpart in the chamber is not on the list.
Senator Chuck Grassley was asked in a conference call with Iowa reporters why he’s wasn’t singled out by Vladimir Putin, what some American legislators consider a badge of honor.
“Maybe I’m not because I haven’t been so prominently displayed as people have,” Grassley says. “I think that’s very important to know that I’ve been tough on Putin, so maybe I should be on the list. I’ve said that either he’s sick or an egomaniac or both.”
Grassley has condemned Russia’s continued assault on Ukraine as “inhumane” and he’s on record saying Putin is mirroring the actions of Stalin in the 1930s. “It seems to me that he’s violating the U.N. charter, killing innocent people,” Grassley says. “He’s already got Russian soldiers being prosecuted as war criminals and he could be prosecuted himself.”
During a speech on the Senate floor, Grassley urged his colleagues to support sending Ukraine any resources needed to stop what he called Putin’s mass murder. “I’ve spoken out the same way other senators have,” Grassley says. “I don’t care whether I’m on the list or not, because I’m not going to go to Russia anyway. I’ve been to Russia three times and every time it was a pleasure to go over there and interact with them, but I wouldn’t want to sit down with Putin now.”
In mid-April, all four members of Iowa’s Congressional delegation were sanctioned by Russia. Iowa Congresswoman Ashley Hinson issued a release, saying: “This is badge of honor, but it is laughable that Putin thinks these sanctions will even slightly deter our efforts to defeat him and support the Ukrainian people in their fight for freedom. Putin is an autocratic thug and a war criminal. I’ll continue to do everything in my power to cut him and his cronies off at the knees and ensure Ukraine has the resources necessary to send Putin into retreat.”