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Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Mitch McConnell Goes Native


President Zelensky with Republican Senators McConnell, Collins, Barrasso, and Cornyn

Picture this: Mitch McConnell and Republican acolytes on a diplomatic  mission in sport jackets without ties. The visitors stayed true to their fashion statement throughout their unmemorable visit to Ukraine in May. Shame on me. I had wrongly reckoned the Senator from Kentucky and neckties to be inseparable. No more stereotyping Mitch as an exponent of that near-extinct fraternity of grown-up Fauntelroys who wear ties in their homes. (In fairness, back home Mitch periodically campaigns in shirtsleeves.)

No blame either on the Americans for trying to fit in Kyiv. When the Russians launched their invasion, Ukraine's savvy president Volodymyr Zelensky closeted much of  his wardrobe--trading up/down for his now iconic olive green tee with its  Ukrainian armed forces insignia. Overnight, tees became de rigueur  for Ukrainian officials, (who have conformed to a T in their nonconformist look).

Consider the larger-than-life Klitschko brothers and their expansive tees. Vitali (6'7'' ) has been  Kyiv's mayor since 2014.  Both he and his brother Wladimir (6'6") are former world  heavyweight champions. For the brothers, the tees  may be a sartorial step up from their ring days.


Vocal critics of  Zelensky's wardrobe have been few and far between. Financial commentator Peter Schiff has been an exception. He has taken considerable flack for pronouncements like " . . .doesn't the President of the Ukraine own a suit?" 

Schiff and his fellow travelers have missed the boat. The "Zelensky look" conveys a simple message: We are fighting for our lives. This is no time for sartorial  niceties. Perhaps in the spirit of compromise, the Americans did lose their ties but not their suit jackets.  Should they try again, they might begin with  the "Zelensky Tee." You can buy your own at this enlightened t-tailer.