Florida Governor and likely presidential candidate Ron DeSantis says further support for Ukraine is not in the ‘vital national interest’ of the United States, in a sharp break with congressional Republicans , pointing to a growing rift between isolationists and hawks that could threaten future aid to Kyiv.
In a statement to Tucker Carlson, the Fox News host who used his prime-time TV show to praise Vladimir Putin and cast doubt on US support for Ukraine, DeSantis described the war as a “territorial dispute” and said that “become further”. entangled” was not in America’s “vital interests”.
“The Biden administration’s virtual ‘blank check’ funding of this conflict ‘for as long as it takes,’ with no defined goals or accountability, distracts from our nation’s most pressing challenges,” DeSantis added.
DeSantis has yet to officially state that he is in progress for president in 2024. But the 44-year-old Florida governor and former congressman has seen his stock rise in recent months after winning re-election in a nearly 20-point midterm election win. term last November, when most other high-profile Republicans disappointed at the polls.
DeSantis, who made two appearances Friday in the key early-voting state of Iowa, is expected to officially enter the race when Florida’s legislative session ends later this spring. Opinion polls consistently suggest he’s the best-placed Republican to take on donald trumpthe former president who declared his candidacy shortly after the midterm elections and continues to lead most polls of likely Republican primary voters.
Trump has long espoused isolationism and increasingly attacked the White House for its handling of the conflict in Ukraine. In his own statement to Carlson, the former president said Russia “certainly wouldn’t have attacked and attacked Ukraine” if he was still in the White House.
Trump insisted that Europe ‘must pay at least as much as the United States pays to help Ukraine’ and reimburse the United States for ‘the difference’ between what Washington and Europe already have engaged in the effort.
“This fight is far more important for Europe than for the United States,” Trump added.
Trump’s and DeSantis’ comments highlight a growing rift between Republicans on Capitol Hill, many of whom have been vocal supporters of US support for Ukraine, and the party’s leading presidential contenders. Opinion polls suggest that public support for aid to Ukraine has weakened slightly since the start of the war last year.
Mitch McConnell, the Senate’s top Republican, has been a staunch supporter of continued support for Kiev and, in a statement marking the first anniversary of the war last month, said it was “not an act of charity for the United States and our NATO allies to help provide self-defense for the Ukrainian people,” instead describing the aid as a “direct investment in our own fundamental national interests.”
However, Kevin McCarthythe Republican Speaker of the House, who is in a position to delay future aid packages given his party’s control of the lower house of Congress, struck a more isolationist note, saying there should be no “blank check” for Ukraine.
McCarthy has also refused to travel to Ukraine, declining an explicit public invitation from Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who told CNN this month that the President “needs to come here to see how we work, what’s going on here, what the war caused us, what people are fighting against now”. , who are fighting now”.
In response, McCarthy told CNN, “I don’t need to go to Ukraine to figure out where there is a blank check or not. . . I will continue to receive my briefings and such, but I don’t need to go to Ukraine or kyiv to see it.
Asked about DeSantis’ comments on Tuesday, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby pointed to President Joe Biden’s speech in Warsaw last month on the anniversary of the Russian invasion. .
He said the remarks explained “why supporting Ukraine in its self-defense is in our national interest and in the interest of our allies and partners around the world.”
“If we were to just lay back and let Putin take over Ukraine – no mistake about it, he hasn’t walked away from that – if we lay down and let that happen, where will it stop – does it?” Kirby added.
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