Updated Oct. 26 to include news of Democrats retracting their letter
What’s happening: Thirty House Democrats sent a letter advising President Joe Biden to modify his efforts to end the war in Ukraine. While agreeing that the U.S. should avoid direct conflict with Russia, they call for Biden to engage in negotiations for a cease-fire, which his administration has refused to do on the grounds that it is primarily Ukraine’s responsibility. The lawmakers retracted the letter after severe backlash from other Democrats.
Why it matters: The U.S. military has indicated it is fully prepared to intervene in the war as it conducts training a few miles from Ukraine’s border. The president has warned that the threat of nuclear war is the most imminent it has been since the Cold War. With so much at stake, Americans of all stripes consider de-escalation a top priority.
Pressure from liberal voters: In recent months, leftist anti-war advocates have turned against Democratic lawmakers for aiding Ukraine, claiming it escalates the conflict and wastes American resources. Constituents have accused them of “voting to start a nuclear war.” Voices in this movement responded positively to the Democrats' now-withdrawn letter.
Big picture: Many Republicans have critiqued Biden’s support for Ukraine as too costly, for which he has accused them of having “no sense of American foreign policy.” As the war ramps up to nuclear threat levels, it remains to be seen how much longer partisan divides will persist.