Last status symbol in Congress? Nearly a dozen Maryland lawmakers banned by Russia. – Baltimore Sun
Washington’s new status symbol is not a coveted dinner seat or an invitation to board Air Force One.
Lawmakers in Maryland and other states on Tuesday hoped to spot their names on another type of list that similarly exudes political cachet.
“I almost missed the fact that I am #683 on the list of newly banned Americans from Russia,” tweeted US Representative CA Dutch Ruppersberger, Democrat of Baltimore County, on Tuesday.
Ruppersberger was not the only resident of Maryland on the list recently released by the Russian Foreign Ministry. The eight members of the state’s delegation to the U.S. House are among the 963 Americans banned, as are Democratic senses Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen.
“It is an honor to be banned by Russia, along with several of my colleagues, for my support of Ukraine and democracy,” said U.S. Representative John Sarbanes, also a Democrat from Baltimore County.
On the list are Democratic President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris – but not former Republican President Donald Trump – as well as members of Congress, journalists and business executives such as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Three deceased senators – John McCain, Harry Reid and Orrin Hatch – also appear, as does actor Morgan Freeman. Freeman was previously featured in a video about Russia’s influence in the 2016 presidential election.
The Foreign Office cited the “US anti-Russian sanctions” in its press release listing US citizens “who are permanently banned from entering the Russian Federation”.
Many lawmakers used their inclusion to stress their opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and their solidarity with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
“I am happy that my strong objections to Putin, his dictatorship and his despicable war against Ukraine are heard loud and clear by the Kremlin,” said Van Hollen, who is seeking re-election this year.
Ruppersberger, who called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “barbaric,” tweeted that he didn’t immediately end up on the list “because nobody ever calls me Charles Albert (hence my Twitter handle). It is the easiest sacrifice I will ever have to make for the Ukrainian war effort.
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His Twitter handle is @Call_Me_Dutch.
The list misidentified House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, the Democrat from Southern Maryland, as a “Democratic Senator from Maryland.” He is in his 21st term in the House.
Regardless, Hoyer said in a statement that he was proud to be included and that “House Democrats will continue to stand with the people of Ukraine in their time of need.”
Maryland’s congressional delegation – including nine Democrats and Republican Rep. Andy Harris – supported congressional efforts to support Ukraine with various forms of assistance.
Cardin, a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has long advocated for Russia to be held accountable for cyberattacks, election interference and human rights abuses.
Since this is an election year, being on the banned list “could certainly be a cause for pride, especially given the American rally around Ukraine,” said Roger E. Hartley, dean of the College of public affairs from the University of Baltimore.
Hartley said he could imagine lawmakers using the list to raise campaign funds. The theme, he said, could be “Putin hates me”.