The war between Russia and Ukraine has passed its one-year anniversary and still continues. Joe Biden and his administration have funneled more than $75 billion in assistance to Ukraine in military, financial, and humanitarian support according to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, a German research institute.
Although the United States sends aid to other countries, Ukraine has become the top recipient of U.S. aid since the Truman administration directed vast sums into rebuilding the continent through the Marshall Plan after World War II.
The conflict dates back to 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine, a move that was widely condemned by the international community. Since the invasion in 2022, things seem to continue towards a path consisting of escalation, not moving toward an end.
The U.S. is not the only one helping out. NATO has sent at least $80 billion to Ukraine since the war began over a year ago. so the U.S. is almost matching what 30 countries together are sending. To some this seems unbalanced, especially regarding needs here in the U.S. One of those outspoken about the amount of aid flowing out of the country is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Governor DeSantis has sparked debate over his recent comments about the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.
During a press conference on Monday, DeSantis declared that the situation in Ukraine is “not a vital U.S. interest.” DeSantis appeared on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show, making it clear that he thinks “Biden is doing too much, without a clearly defined objective, and taking actions that risk provoking war between the U.S. and Russia” according to the New York Times.
“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.
Aligning himself with the opinion voiced by former President Trump, DeSantis noted in the interview, ” 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,” he said.
DeSantis’s comments have sparked buzz about the United States’ role in the conflict and its responsibility to defend its allies. Some have criticized the Governor for his lack of support for Ukraine, while others have defended his position, arguing that the U.S. should focus on its own national interests.
The Governor’s comments have drawn attention from many, including journalist and television personality Geraldo Rivera. Responding to DeSantis on social media, Rivera said, “Disappointed in Gov Ron DeSantis announcing Ukraine is not a vital US interest. Not in US interest to prevent expansionist Russia from invading innocent neighboring countries? Not in our interest to prevent return of the Iron Curtain? In our interest to roll over for Putin?”
Disappointed in Gov Ron DeSantis announcing Ukraine is not a vital US interest.
Not in US interest to prevent expansionist Russia from invading innocent neighboring countries?
Not in our interest to prevent return of the Iron Curtain?
In our interest to roll over for Putin?
— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) March 14, 2023
Rivera is of course a big fan of President Joe Biden, and although Biden took heat for his unannounced visit to Ukraine during the holiday weekend last month rather than be in the United States for President’s Day and make a patriotic speech honoring former presidents, Rivera applauded Biden’s trip to the war zone. Rivera tweeted, “Bravo” as Biden made a show of support in Ukraine and Poland on the side of Ukraine and Zelensky.
Liberal Rivera has not been a fan of conservative DeSantis in the past, most recently blasting him in the past over DeSantis’ handling of illegal immigrants in his own state of Florida. But DeSantis wins applause from conservatives every time and won another term as governor with a landslide in the last election.
DeSantis has not declared that he is in the running for the Republican presidential nomination for 2024, but is being treated in the media as if he has. A straw poll taken at the CPAC convention in Washington, D.C. had Trump in the lead for the nomination with 62% of the vote, with DeSantis claiming 20% and the only other formally declared candidate at this time, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, receiving 3% of the vote.
Trump and DeSantis both reside in the state of Florida and are conservatives. Both candidates are listening to the constituents, and AP reported that they are also listening to faith leaders in the state. The clergy’s top priorities include education and immigration, topics that not only have been addressed by both men but topics which have been the basis for action by both.
Within the Republican Party, conservatives are stepping up to challenge the RINOs in matters pertaining to the bottom line, and all candidates are soon going to have to be on one side of that line, or the other.