February 24, 2022 by Marisa Schultz

EXCLUSIVE: House GOP Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik issued tough criticism of President Biden‘s “failed leadership” after Russia invaded Ukraine despite warnings from the White House and U.S. allies to stand down.

“President Biden’s weakness on the world stage has emboldened our adversaries, look no further than Ukraine and Afghanistan,” Stefanik, R-N.Y., said in an exclusive statement to Fox News Digital. “The world is less safe because of his failed leadership.”

The No. 3 House Republican also slammed Russian President Vladimir Putin and took shots at the media for coming to Biden’s defense.

“I will say it again: Putin is a deranged thug and authoritarian war criminal,” Stefanik told Fox News Digital. “The liberal media, who pushed the Russia hoax, is now serving as Joe Biden’s stenographers and melting down over the truth that Biden’s weakness has caused the world to be less safe. And the American people knowit.”

Stefanik faced criticism Thursday for an earlier statement on the Russian invasion of Ukraine that called Biden “weak, feckless, and unfit President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief.”

BC News’ Jonathan Karl said Stefanik’s statement “spends more time attacking the American president than Vladimir Putin” and noted the statement from GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., didn’t mention Biden and called for a unified response.

Zac Petkanas, a Democratic strategist, also blasted Stefanik’s response and her support for President Trump, who previously praised Putin as “genius.”

Stefanik’s earlier statement did attack Putin too as a “thug” and said the American people are united in their support for Ukraine.

“I join the American people in praying for the safety of innocent Ukrainians as they endure an unwarranted and unjustified invasion by a gutless, bloodthirsty, authoritarian dictator,” Stefanik said. “Vladimir Putin is a war criminal and deranged thug. We must stand with democracies under assault.”

The comments came as Russian forces invaded Ukraine on Thursday by land, air and sea in the largest military attack of one state against another on the European continent since the World War II.

Russia’s attack on Ukraine killed at least 57 people and wounded 169 during the first day of the full-scale invasion, Ukraine’s Health Minister Oleh Lyashko said Thursday.

Biden responded with additional sanctions on Russia and the deployment of 7,000 more U.S. service members to Germany. He said the U.S. military will not fight in Ukraine.

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