Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) shared screenshots of a Senate video call with Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday, despite being told not to do so due to concerns about the Ukrainian president’s safety.
Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) criticized his fellow lawmakers after the call ended, tweeting that the “Ukrainian ambassador very intentionally asked each of us on the Zoom to NOT share anything on social media during the meeting to protect the security of President Zelenskyy.” (Multiple congressional aides confirmed the directive to NBC News.)
“Appalling and reckless ignorance by two US Senators,” Phillips added.
The Ukrainian Ambassador very intentionally asked each of us on the zoom to NOT share anything on social media during the meeting to protect the security of President Zelenskyy. Appalling and reckless ignorance by two US Senators. https://t.co/geolhKxbLp
— Rep. Dean Phillips 🇺🇸 (@RepDeanPhillips) March 5, 2022
Rubio and Daines did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Rolling Stone.
More than 280 senators, House members, and staff, were dialed into the meeting with the Ukrainian president. Topics of discussion included a possible no-fly zone above Ukraine; economic, humanitarian, and security assistance to Ukrainians; and sanctions on Russia; and more.
Rep. Jim Hines (D-Conn.) tweeted after the call that Zelenskyy “is standing strong, but pleaded for more help. Planes, oil embargo, continued military aid.” Hines also included an image of the call, but noted that “we were asked to not post during the zoom” and that his post came “well afterwards.” Rubio and Daines both posted images while the call was still in progress.
Zelensky has been the target of assassination attempts since Russia invaded Ukraine late last month. Zelensky has confined himself indoors recently, as was the case during his Saturday Zoom call with U.S. legislators.
Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.) joined Phillips in condemning Rubio and Daines. “The lack of discipline in Congress is truly astounding,” he tweeted. “If an embattled wartime leader asks you to keep quiet about a meeting, you better keep quiet about the meeting.”
“I’m not saying a damn thing,” Crow added. “Lives are at stake.”
Correction: A previous version of this story listed Phillips’ district as in Montana. He is from Minnesota.