Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has called on the United States to find a peaceful resolution to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. The move contrasts starkly with many congressional Republicans, who have advocated for indefinitely arming Ukraine rather than finding a peaceable solution to the conflict.
During his Monday night program, Fox News host Tucker Carlson revealed his team had sent a series of questions regarding the Russia-Ukraine conflict to potential and declared 2024 GOP presidential primary candidates. Included in the list were questions such as “Is opposing Russia in Ukraine a vital strategic interest for America? “What’s our objective in Ukraine, and how are we going to know when we’ve achieved it?” and “What is the limit of money and weapons you’d be willing to send to [Volodymyr] Zelensky?”
In his response to Carlson, DeSantis made clear his belief that getting further entangled in the Russia-Ukraine conflict is not vital to the strategic interests of the United States and called on Washington to pursue a policy of de-escalation.
“While the U.S. has many vital national interests — securing our borders, addressing the crisis of readiness within our military, achieving energy security and independence, and checking the economic, cultural, and military power of the Chinese Communist Party — becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them,” DeSantis said in a statement. “The Biden administration’s virtual ‘blank check’ funding of this conflict for ‘as long as it takes,’ without any defined objectives or accountability, distracts from our country’s most pressing challenges. Without question, peace should be the objective.”
He continued, “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.”
But the Florida governor didn’t stop there. According to Carlson, DeSantis expressed opposition to regime change in Russia and further criticized the Biden administration for helping foment the growing alliance between Moscow and Beijing.
“We cannot prioritize intervention in an escalating foreign war over the defense of our 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,” DeSantis said.
Predictably, the commonsense remarks evoked ire from Washington’s biggest neocons, who have emotionally latched themselves onto Ukraine and Zelensky like a magnet to a refrigerator.
“Whelp DeSantis just threw in with the crazies. Talk about a misread,” whined former GOP congressman and Jan. 6 Committee performance artist Adam Kinzinger.
“DeSantis actually called Russia’s grotesque, aggressive invasion of a sovereign country a ‘territorial dispute.’ Now both front-runners for the GOP nomination are weaker on Russian aggression than Joe Biden,” said neocon and renowned pearl-clutcher David French. “Astonishing. Dangerous.”
In addition to DeSantis, other potential 2024 GOP presidential primary contenders to respond to Carlson’s inquiry include former President Donald Trump, who argued it is “far more important” to “support regime change in the United States” than in Russia and voiced support for a negotiated peace settlement.
Former Vice President Mike Pence, however, took the opposite position from Trump and DeSantis, writing the U.S. is “paying the Ukrainians to fight Russia so we won’t have to fight Russians ourselves.” In his statement, Pence went on to claim the “talk of nuclear war is a bullying tactic” used by Putin to launch the invasion and that there “is no room for Putin apologists in the Republican Party.”
Other Republicans to offer their views on the Russia-Ukraine conflict include former biotech CEO Vivek Ramaswamy, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.