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Lindsey Graham pushes back against Republican skepticism of Ukraine support

By Ryan King,

2023-03-14

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S en. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) tacitly rebutted skepticism over U.S. support for Ukraine from a cacophony of 2024 GOP aspirants.

On Monday, Fox News host Tucker Carlson read responses from potential 2024 contenders, revealing that many of them, such as former President Donald Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) , were apathetic or even opposed to bolstering support for the war-torn nation, contending Ukraine's affairs are not a strong national interest. Graham warned against repeating "the mistakes of the past."

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is seen at a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 22, 2022.


DESANTIS SAYS DEFENDING UKRAINE FROM RUSSIA IS NOT A KEY US INTEREST

"To those who believe that Russia’s unprovoked and barbaric invasion of Ukraine is not a priority for the United States — you are missing a lot. The last time someone in Europe claimed the land of others, and tried to take it by force of arms, was Adolf Hitler’s attempt to build a Third Reich. Those who miscalculated Hitler’s intentions paved the way for a wider war," the senator tweeted.


Graham has long backed more hawkish foreign policy positions, recently calling for a hard-line approach to drug cartels in Mexico. He endorsed Trump in the 2024 election. Trump told Carlson that he did not view opposition to Russia's war in Ukraine as "a vital American national strategic interest."


DeSantis, whose foreign policy views are somewhat unknown, garnered headlines for suggesting that "becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia" would not be in America's national interest.

Without dropping names, Graham hearkened back to the history between Russia and Ukraine and warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin's military rampage would likely not stop at Ukraine.

"Ukraine willingly gave up their nuclear weapons in 1994 in exchange for Russia’s recognition of Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty, which included Crimea," the South Carolina Republican said. "Putin is openly saying that his long-term goal is to recreate the old Russian empire and he has no intention of stopping in Ukraine."

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Other Republicans, such as Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), have also rebutted some of the 2024 hopefuls' takes on Ukraine, illustrating a growing divide within the party over how to handle Russia's belligerence.

Not all 2024 aspirants downplayed Ukraine's importance to U.S. foreign policy. Former Vice President Mike Pence, for instance, argued that "victory for Ukraine" should be the objective. Graham's colleague, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), also stressed that "degrading the Russian military is in our vital national interest."

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