Florida Governor Ron DeSantis commented on the United States support of Ukraine in its war with Russia and establishment Republicans are not happy about it.
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His remarks come during speculation that he will be throwing his hat in the ring for a presidential bid in 2024. His response came from a series of questions that Tucker Carlson asked 2024 GOPO candidates or hopefuls about their stances on the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia.
“While the U.S. has many vital national interests… becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them,” DeSantis told Carlson.
He noted that peace should be the objective of war. He said that the U.S. “should not provide assistance that could require the deployment of American troops or enable Ukraine to engage in offensive operations beyond its borders,” adding that providing F-16s and long-range missiles would be “off the table.”
DeSantis also said that American “citizens are also entitled to know how the billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars are being utilized in Ukraine.”
He also knocked the regime change policy as being very “popular among the D.C. foreign policy interventionists,” and suggested that Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s successor “would likely be even more ruthless.”
Fox News reported:
Though he has not officially declared that he will seek the GOP nomination for president next year, DeSantis’ comments drew immediate scrutiny from a handful of Republicans who have consistently signaled their support for Ukraine as it works to fend off Russian aggression — including former Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, Texas Sen. John Cornyn, and North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis.
Cheney, a former member of the Jan. 6 Select Committee and an outspoken critic of former President Donald Trump, said DeSantis “is wrong and seems to have forgotten the lessons of Ronald Reagan.”
“This is not ‘a territorial dispute,'” Cheney said in a statement, according to the New York Times. “The Ukrainian people are fighting for their freedom. Surrendering to Putin and refusing to defend freedom makes America less safe.”
“Weakness is provocative and American officials who advocate this type of weakness are Putin’s greatest weapon. Abandoning Ukraine would make broader conflict, including with China and other American adversaries, more likely,” added Cheney, who lost her bid for re-election last year to pro-Trump Republican Rep. Harriet Hageman.
Marco Rubio appeared on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show on Tuesday where he said that Ukraine wasn’t the number one national security issue but that it was an important one. Rubio was asked about DeSantis’ comments.
“Well, I don’t know what he’s trying to do or what the goal is,” Rubio said.
“Obviously, he doesn’t deal with foreign policy every day as governor. So I’m not sure. … I mean, I can’t compare that to something else he did or has said over the last few years, because he doesn’t deal with it every day. But I will say to you that, in terms of my view of the overall issue, is, I think there’s nuance, because foreign policy is about nuance.”
Lindsey Graham was frustrated by DeSantis’ comments. He said he “could not disagree more” with the governor’s view of the Ukraine-Russia war.
John Cornyn also told Politico that he was “disturbed” by DeSantis’ remarks. He said it was “important for us to continue to support Ukrainians for our own security.”