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The White House and a Republican senator sparred online over President Biden’s ban on Russian oil.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki blasted Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton on Friday after he tweeted earlier this week urging Biden to arm Ukraine amid the Russian invasion.
“[Cotton] had a chance last week to back his words with actions by voting for the security assistance for Ukraine that the president announced yesterday,” Psaki wrote Friday. “He and 30 of his fellow Senate Republicans voted against that money.”
Cotton responded to Psaki over her dig, accusing the president of continuing to buy Russian oil, despite his announced ban.
“The aid was <1% of an inflation-busting $1.5 trillion budget,” Cotton fired back. “It should have been sent *before* the invasion, but Biden blocked it to avoid offending Putin.”
“[Psaki], why is Biden still buying Russian oil?” Cotton wrote Friday.
The “Biden administration should spend less time defending itself and more time leading,” James Arnold, Cotton’s spokesman, told Fox News Digital.
“They want praise for doing what should have been done months ago — all while still buying Russian oil and blocking fighter jets for Ukraine.”
In response, Saloni Sharma, White House director for strategic communications, told Fox News Digital that Cotton “might not have seen the announcement” of the ban.
“At the time, we said we will ban the import of Russian oil, liquefied natural gas and coal to the United States – a significant action with widespread bipartisan support,” Sharma said in an email. “Our ban blocks any new purchases of Russian energy and winds down deliveries of existing purchases as is standard practice because they have already been paid for.”
Cotton’s accusation comes ten days after Biden signed an executive order broadly banning Russian petroleum projects.
The ban was initiated in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, whom Biden blames for the uptick in gas prices.
Congress is also working on legislation to ban Russian oil, and the House of Representatives on Thursday voted to strip Russia of its “most-favored” trade status.