More high-profile Republicans have come out against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ argument that helping Ukraine against Russia’s invasion is not a “vital” US interest — warning that pulling aid could set off a “negative chain of events” across the globe.
US Sen. Mike Rounds on Sunday flatly rejected DeSantis’ characterization of the war as a “territorial dispute,” arguing that the invasion’s outcome has bigger global repercussions.
“I don’t think it’s a territorial dispute,” Rounds said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “While he [Vladimir Putin] may be taking territory, and it’s technically accurate to say that there’s territory being taken. This is bigger than that for us.
Rounds warned that pulling support from Ukraine would send a message to the Kremlin and leaders in Beijing that the US would no longer be a player on the world stage, which the senator said could have long-standing consequences.
“This is something that I think we have to stand strong on,” Rounds added.
DeSantis made the controversial comments in an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson last Monday, declaring that “becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not” of vital interest to the US.
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu also condemned DeSantis for his view, claiming the Florida governor is just playing partisan politics in his expected bid for presidency come 2024.
In an op-ed piece for the New York Times on Saturday, Sununu, who is considering his own presidential bid, wrote: “Simply opposing aid to Ukraine because President Biden supports it is not a viable foreign policy. To abandon Ukraine would set off a negative chain of events for U.S. interests domestically and abroad.”
Sununu claimed that DeSantis’ stance represents a split in the Republican Party on what America’s future global policy should be.
“Some in the Republican Party have lost their moral compass on foreign policy, as evidenced by former president Donald Trump, who once called Putin’s invasion ‘genius’ and ‘savvy,’” he wrote. “As Republicans, we should support freedom, not abandon it.”
DeSantis had also earned the scorn last week of fellow Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, who agreed that the war in Ukraine was not about territory, but rather about Russia expanding its influence.
“It’s not a territorial dispute in the sense that any more than it would be a territorial dispute if the United States decided that it wanted to invade Canada or take over the Bahamas,” Rubio said on the Hugh Hewitt Show Tuesday. “Just because someone claims something doesn’t mean it belongs to them.”
Along with Rubio, Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley took a shot at DeSantis, comparing him to former President Donald Trump.
“President Trump is right when he says Gov. DeSantis is copying him — first in his style, then on entitlement reform, and now on Ukraine,” Haley, who served as Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, said in a statement.
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