CPAC: Papa John’s founder suggests Biden is behind Ukraine invasion to create ‘smokescreen’ for US issues

‘When you cut off our pipeline, and you open up Russia’, and you give the guys $750bn. It looks to me like it’s pretty intentional’

<p>John Schnatter</p>

John Schnatter

Former pizza delivery executive “Papa” John Schnatter on Friday said President Joe Biden had caused Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a “smokescreen” to distract from domestic political matters.

Mr Schnatter, who founded the Papa John’s pizza delivery chain in 1984, was once a ubiquitous presence on American television thanks to his frequent appearances in his company’s advertising.

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But he was forced from his role as CEO of the company in October 2017 after complaining that the NFL — a major corporate partner at the time — hadn’t done enough to stop Black players from kneeling during pre-game national anthem performances.

He was subsequently forced to resign as the chairman of Papa John’s board after the release of a recording in which he repeatedly used racial slurs.

The disgraced pizza mogul now appears to be attempting a comeback to public life as a conservative media figure, and to that end made his baseless accusations against Mr Biden during an appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

He said he didn’t know whether Mr Biden’s administration was “incompetent” or whether the current crisis was started “intentionally” but pivoted immediately to the latter option by restating a conspiracy theory about Mr Biden’s revocation of a permit for a Canadian oil pipeline.

“When you cut off our pipeline, and you open up Russia’, and you give the guys $750bn. It looks to me like it’s pretty intentional. But what a great smokescreen, what a great distraction from all the real issues here that affect Americans,” he said.

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