(CNN) - A fierce congressional critic of the Obama administration's foreign policy gave the President credit Thursday for recent actions he's taken in the ongoing situation in Ukraine.
Sen. Lindsey Graham said on CNN's "Crossfire" that Obama had done “a very good job” in the last 24 hours. The South Carolina Republican added “I appreciate what he did today. Thank God he’s upping his game.”
The administration is pursuing a diplomatic strategy along with European allies to remedy the crisis, and has threatened economic and other sanctions if the matter cannot be resolved, as well as expanded visa bans. President Obama has called Russian President Vladimir Putin's incursion into Ukraine a violation of international law, and says the Ukrainian people should determine their own destiny.
Graham’s compliment Thursday stands in contrast to comments he made over the weekend.
On CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday, Graham called the President "weak and indecisive" on matters of foreign policy. Graham said Obama should "do something" as the crisis in Ukraine escalated and Western powers scrambled to respond to the situation. He also has recently tied the 2012 attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which resulted in four Americans dead, to Russia’s intrusion into Ukraine, blaming Obama’s foreign policy for failing to follow through on threat consequences.
Despite Obama’s recent action, prominent Republicans continued their attacks on Obama’s handling of a U.S. response to Russia sending military forces into the Crimean Peninsula - an autonomous region of eastern Ukraine with strong loyalty to neighboring Russia. Speaking about Ukraine at an annual conference for conservatives Thursday, many likely 2016 presidential candidates - including Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz - characterized Obama as weak and unconvincing on an international stage.
Graham, a two-term senator who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, is facing a tough primary challenge back home. He has been highly critical of Obama’s foreign policy in recent years, and despite paying Obama a compliment, he continued to decry the administration’s international efforts on the whole.
“My problem is the way the President engages not just Putin, but the world. I think the big problem with President Obama, I don’t think he has a vision of foreign policy,” Graham said.