In case you missed it, this past weekend Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke with members of Congress on a Zoom call to ask for more US assistance in Ukraine’s ongoing siege from Russia.
During the call, he asked for the establishment of a no-fly zone over the country, more direct military assistance, and a ban on Russian oil.
While these are all difficult asks, Zelensky did have one request that should’ve been *extremely easy* for any member of Congress to agree to: please don’t share this meeting on social media until after it’s over, in order to help keep the beleaguered Ukrainian President safe.
Although the meeting was highly publicized, sharing photos or posts during the meeting could’ve provided information about Zelensky’s location, which might have put the freedom-fighting President’s life at real risk.
Despite this EXPLICIT warning - and the fact that politicians could’ve waited to score their social media points until after the meeting - a couple of Republican Senators just couldn’t help themselves. And of course one of their colleagues — two years into a pandemic — still hasn’t yet figured out how to mute his damn mic.
Now, we are firm believers that “if it didn’t happen on social media - it didn’t really happen.” But that rule kinda goes out the window when it’s a matter of life and death. You know? Especially when the person whose life you’re risking is the internationally-beloved, embattled leader who has reportedly already survived three assassination attempts in the past week.
Marco Rubio, in yet another desperate attempt at relevance, was the first to succumb to the urge to wrack up some of those sweet, sweet retweets. Since then, Rubio’s team has fired back at critics, saying, “There was no identifying information of any kind. Anybody pretending this tweet is a security concern is a partisan seeking clicks.” Maybe that’s true - or maybe it’s not. The only thing that really matters here is that President Zelensky’s team specifically asked Rubio and his colleagues not to tweet about it. And he did anyway.
The worst part about this in Rubio’s case is that he’s the Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, as well as a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Meaning that Rubio should probably be a bit more sensitive to this type of request than almost any member of Congress.
Despite this, Rubio’s unquenchable thirst for social media fame just proved too strong a siren call to ignore.
Rubio wasn’t alone though in endangering the life of President Zelensky. Not to be outdone, Senator Steve Daines of Montana quickly fired off a tweet as well.
Maybe Daines doesn’t like to follow instructions. Or maybe, he just had different marching orders. Because Daines was one of numerous Republican Senators who spent the 4th of July hanging out in Moscow back in 2018. He was of course joined by Wisconsin’s own Russian sympathizer, Ron Johnson.
Meanwhile, while Rubio and Daines were setting off a tweetstorm with their ill-advised tweets, Rubio’s fellow Floridian Senator Rick Scott was just trying to figure out how mute his dang Zoom mic.
Perhaps Senator Scott should’ve spent less time working on his 11-point plan to turn America into a Hunger-Games-like dystopia and more time learning about the mysterious technology that is the Zoom mute button. (Pro tip: if you won’t be speaking much on a Zoom call, mute yourself and then simply use the space bar to unmute yourself as needed.)
Since we at Reverbal Communications love to give advice to political candidates and elected officials (it's a big part of what we do - learn more here), here’s some advice for Senator Scott: Take some time to head down to The Villages in Florida and sign up for a Zoom intro course. Or better yet, just retire!
Ultimately, the moral of the story is this - while it’s always good to share what you’re up to with your followers, you don’t always have to do it in the moment. This is especially true when you’ve been asked by an ambassador of a country under siege to hold a moment on sending out those fire tweets.
In a time of absolute crisis and uncertainty, President Zelensky has come to be admired by many around the world as a fearless and inspirational leader - he’s a hero to his people and a symbol for the fight for democracy worldwide.
The least Republican Senators can do is give him the opportunity to speak openly with the US without the fear of another Russian attempt on taking his life.
Senators Rubio and Daines, with all due respect, both of you should please delete your accounts.