- Lindsey Graham said it would “dumber than dirt” of China to support Putin with weapons.
- “It would be like buying a ticket on the Titanic after you saw the movie,” Graham said.
- Graham’s comments came after Antony Blinken said China might want to give Putin lethal weapons.
GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham said it would be stupid of China to give Russian President Vladimir Putin any weapons to use in Ukraine.
“And to the Chinese, if you jump on the Putin train now, you’re dumber than dirt. It would be like buying a ticket on the Titanic after you saw the movie. Don’t do this,” Graham told host Martha Raddatz on Sunday’s episode of ABC’s “This Week.”
Graham was commenting on Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s warning on Sunday that the Chinese might be on the brink of giving Russia “lethal support” in the Ukraine war. Such a move would be the “most catastrophic thing” that could happen for US-China relations, Graham said.
“That would change everything forever,” Graham said.
During his appearance on ABC, he also asked the US to “designate Russia a state sponsor of terrorism” to ensure that China would be sanctioned if it were to give weapons to Russia. The US currently lists Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria as state sponsors of terrorism, but not Russia.
Graham also advocated for the US to start training Ukrainian pilots on F-16 jets.
“Don’t worry about provoking Putin. Worry about beating him,” Graham said, in response to Raddatz’s questions about whether giving Ukraine F-16 jets and long-range missiles would be viewed by Russia as a provocation.
“And I’ve never been more optimistic about winning this war in Ukraine than I am right now. I see solidarity across the aisle in America and across the seas,” Graham said.
Representatives at the Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C., did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Graham’s hawkish stance on China and Ukraine comes after warnings from Blinken, strong statement from Harris
On Sunday, Blinken told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the US is “very concerned” that China could be “considering providing lethal support to Russia.” Blinken also reiterated warnings that the Biden administration has given Beijing since the start of the war.
“China’s trying to have it both ways. Publicly, they present themselves as a country striving for peace in Ukraine,” Blinken told NBC.
“But privately, as I said, we’ve seen already over these past months the provision of nonlethal assistance that does go directly to aiding and abetting Russia’s war effort,” he added. “And some further information that we are sharing today and that I think will be out there soon that indicates that they are strongly considering providing lethal assistance to Russia.”
On Saturday, Vice President Kamala Harris made a formal declaration against Russia at the Munich Security Conference, accusing the country of crimes against humanity.
Also on Saturday, China’s foreign affairs chief Wang Yi told the Munich Security Conference that while China is not “directly concerned” in the Ukraine war, it is “not standing idly by.” Wang added that China will soon present a peace plan to find a way to end the war.
“We need to think calmly, especially our friends in Europe, about what efforts should be made to stop the warfare; what framework should there be to bring lasting peace to Europe; what role should Europe play to manifest its strategic autonomy,” Wang said, per Politico.