Popular Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida joins the chorus of Republicans criticizing the ongoing financial support to Ukraine to aid it in its defense against Russia’s invasion.
- Each of the 13 leading potential GOP candidates for president received a six-question survey from Fox News host Tucker Carlson about America’s role in supporting the war, asking to what degree it represents a military threat to the U.S. and asking candidates their opinions on sanctions, aid, and the possibility of Russian regime change.
- Former President Donald Trump, Governor Kristie Noem (R-SD), Governor Greg Abbott (R-TX), and business leader Vivek Ramaswamy heavily criticized the ongoing effort by the Biden administration, while former Vice President Mike Pence and former Governor Christie (R-NJ) defended further aid to Ukraine and further sanctions against Russia.
- Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a leading figure in the Republican Party and potential presidential candidate, offered one of the more surprising condemnations, criticizing President Joe Biden’s “blank check” approach to military aid and saying the U.S. should not become further entangled in the conflict.
Why It’s News
This will be a major political issue for both parties in the 2024 presidential election—as the war plays a major role in foreign policy, energy prices, the European economy, and the U.S. budget.
DeSantis’ statement is his strongest to date about how he feels about the U.S.’s support of Ukraine—his opposition has grown as has the views of the Republican electorate. According to Pew Research, Republican opinions on military aid have progressively soured as fears of nuclear conflict and escalation mount. Republicans overwhelmingly supported the war effort in March 2022, with only 9% saying the U.S. gave too much aid. That number rose in January 2023 to 40%. Now, 26% of Americans, in general, agree that too much aid is being sent to Ukraine.
One major point of contention for those who criticize the U.S.’s ongoing support is the cost, estimated by the Council on Foreign Relations at $76.8 billion—which includes weapons, security, financial, and humanitarian aid since the invasion began in February 2022.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine marked its first anniversary on February 24, as the conflict continued to bog down, with attacks and counter-attacks by both sides making small gains. This cut against initial expectations that Russia would successfully crush Ukraine within a few weeks due to its overwhelming military capacity and greater resources.
Says Governor DeSantis: “Without question, peace should be the objective. 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. F-16s and long-range missiles should therefore be off the table. These moves would risk explicitly drawing the United States into the conflict and drawing us closer to a hot war between the world’s two largest nuclear powers. That risk is unacceptable.”
“Our citizens are also entitled to know how the billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars are being utilized in Ukraine. We cannot prioritize intervention in an escalating foreign war over the defense of our own homeland, especially as tens of thousands of Americans are dying every year from narcotics smuggled across our open border and our weapons arsenals critical for our own security are rapidly being depleted.”