(The Hill) – Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a “thug” and the Ukrainian government “evil” in a video obtained and published by North Carolina affiliate WRAL amid the ongoing Russian invasion.

“Remember that Zelenskyy is a thug,” Cawthorn said in the recording. “Remember that the Ukrainian government is incredibly corrupt and is incredibly evil and has been pushing woke ideologies.”

In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, former White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove says Cawthorn’s remarks were made at a town hall in Ashe­ville, N.C., and that they “don’t re­flect Re­pub­li­can opin­ion.” The article was published Wednesday, and Rove said the event happened “last Saturday.”

“…Re­pub­li­can mem­bers of Con­gress, can­di­dates and com­men­ta­tors echo­ing Mr. Trump’s iso­la­tionism and Krem­lin apolo­get­ics are out of sync with GOP vot­ers,” Rove wrote, referring to former President Trump praising Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “genius” and “savvy” after the incursion.

When reached for comment by The Hill, a spokesperson for Cawthorn did not answer questions about when or where the comments took place but sent a link to a tweet the congressman posted on Thursday saying, “This thread explains what his point was in those remarks.” 

Cawthorn’s tweet contains a link to an article called “World War Reddit ” with the caption “Propaganda is being used to entice America into another war. I do not want Americans dying because emotions pushed us into a conflict.”

The linked article focused on multiple stories that have been written about the war that has turned out to be false after further examination. 

White House press secretary Jen Psaki declined to comment Thursday when asked about Cawthorn’s remarks by a reporter during her daily press briefing.

On Wednesday, Cawthorn was one of only 17 representatives who voted against banning Russian oil as further punishment for Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, which has been forcefully condemned by both Republicans and Democrats.

Russia’s government has been pushing false claims about the Ukrainian government and Zelensky, calling them neo-Nazis and drug dealers in an attempt to justify their aggression. The Kremlin is using these lies to portray themselves as the hero of a war they are fighting to liberate the people of Ukraine.