Rep. Matt Gaetz (R, FL-1) inadvertently cited the Global Times, an English-language daily tabloid newspaper run by the Chinese Communist Party, while grilling Defense Under Secretary for Policy Inspector Colin Kahl.
During a congressional hearing on Tuesday, Gaetz grilled Biden administration officials regarding the United States’ continued support for Ukraine in its defense against the ongoing Russian invasion. The GOP congressman asked Kahl whether the U.S. is providing military assistance to the Ukrainian paramilitary unit Azov Battalion, a militia founded by far-right extremists that has been fighting pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine since 2014. “Not that I’m aware of,” Kahl responded, prompting Gaetz to cite an article from Chinese state-run media outlet The Global Times, which was designated by the Trump administration as a “foreign mission” in 2020 because it is “effectively controlled by the government of the People’s Republic of China.”
“I intend to enter into the record The Global Times investigative report that talks about training,” he said “It’s from the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Research Lab. Citing the Azov battalion was even getting stuff as far back as 2018.”
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Recognizing the name of the publication, Kahl replied, “I’m sorry, is this the Global Times from China?”
Gaetz initially responded “No” before referring back to the article he had just entered into the record.
“Yeah, it might be, yeah. Would that be a reason?” he clarified as Kahl cut him off.
“I don’t have any evidence one way or the other. As a general matter, I don’t take Beijing’s propaganda at face value,” Kahl said.
“Fair enough. I would agree with that assessment,” Gaetz replied before immediately moving on to question Kahl about the U.S. funding for pensions in Ukraine.
The Global Times article that Gaetz cited quoted a 2018 blog post to support the idea the U.S. is training the Azov fighters despite no firm evidence to support the claim.
It appeared that the GOP congressman failed to do adequate research as the article also went on to accuse the United States of “conniving with the neo-Nazi forces” in Eastern Europe.