Russia-Sanctioned Senators: ‘I’ll Take It’

Photograph by Yury Kirnichny/AFP via Getty Images

Ukrainian parliament speaker and interim president Olexander Turchynov, left, greets United States Senator John McCain prior to talks in Kiev on March 14, 2014.

Spell my name right.

That’s the reaction of American politicians named in the Russian Foreign Ministry’s publication of a list of U.S. officials facing sanctions. The Russian sanctions are in apparent retaliation for U.S. sanctions against several Russian officials because of the nation’s annexation of Crimea.

Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican who ran for president in 2008, famously has said, in a turn on former President George W. Bush’s comment about seeing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s soul in his eyes, that when he looks into Putin’s eyes, he sees three letters:


He’s on Moscow’s list of the sanctioned.

“I guess this means my spring break in Siberia is off, my Gazprom stock is lost, and my secret bank account in Moscow is frozen,” McCain added later. “Nonetheless, I will never cease my efforts on behalf of the freedom, independence, and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including Crimea.”

The Russian sanction could actually be a boon for Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, the Democrat whose 2014 bid for reelection has made another list, the Cook Report’s tally of “toss-up” contests.

Sen. Robert Menendez, the New Jersey Democrat who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee, takes the Russian sanction as a proud sign of “standing up for democracy:”

There goes that vacation in Siberia for Sen. Harry Reid, the senator from Searchlight, Nevada, who is fighting to keep Democratic control of the Senate in the midterm elections.

Reid offered his own warning for Putin:

Indiana Republican Sen. Dan Coats added a touch of snark in his thank-you note, saying:

The senators aren’t alone. House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio made the cut, too. Just in time for his caucus’s midterm elections.

“The speaker is proud to be included on a list of those willing to stand against Putin’s aggression,” Michael Steel, Boehner’s spokesman, said in an e-mail. His boss, who has called Putin a “thug” several times, is name No. 5 on the Russians’s sanction list.

Then, perhaps, there are those with their eyes on 2016 who wish they could get on the Kremlin’s radar too:

If those at the White House who also made Moscow’s registry might be withholding comment for diplomacy’s sake — Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer and deputy assistant for international economic affairs Caroline Atkinson — one veteran of the National Security Council spoke up for his pals with this tweet for Putin:

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