Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis weighed in on President Joe Biden’s unannounced visit to Ukraine on Feb. 20, criticizing the President’s “blank check” promise to the European nation and noting that the communist regime in China is greater threat to the values that the United States and its global allies uphold at this time.
DeSantis was speaking to hosts of Fox News’s “Fox and Friends,” which aired around the time the governor spoke at a pro-law enforcement event held in a catering hall in Staten Island, New York, this morning.
“They have effectively a blank-check policy with no clear, strategic objective identified, and these things can escalate, and I don’t think it’s in our interests to be getting into a proxy war with China, getting involved over things like the borderlands or over Crimea,” DeSantis said, referring to Biden’s exchange with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, during which the U.S. president pledged an additional half-billion dollars.
“So I think it would behoove them to identify what is the strategic objective that they’re trying to achieve, but just saying it’s an open-ended blank check, that is not acceptable,” he continued.
According to a January report by the non-profit Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, the U.S. Congress approved more than $113 billion of military and non-military assistance to Ukraine in 2022—more than half of Ukraine’s Gross Domestic Product before the war. This amount included $67 billion for defense-related items and $46 billion for humanitarian and economic aid.
The governor added that the scenario of Russia “steamrolling” into NATO countries “has not even come close to happening,” adding that Russia has shown itself to be a “third-rate military power.”
“I think they’ve suffered tremendous, tremendous losses,” DeSantis said, referring to Russia.
The governor added that he believes a major factor causing the war in Ukraine was Russia’s perception of the Biden administration’s “weakness,” and took a swipe at the administration’s handling of the border crisis and its response to China’s surveillance balloon that flew over the United States.
“I don’t think any of this would have happened, but for the weakness that the president showed during his first year in office, culminating, of course, in the disastrous withdrawal in Afghanistan,” the governor said.
“So I think while he’s over there, I think I and many Americans are thinking to ourselves, okay, ‘He’s very concerned about those borders halfway around the world. He’s not done anything to secure our own border here at home.’ We’ve had millions and millions of people pour in, tens of thousands of Americans dead because of fentanyl, and then, of course, we just suffered a national humiliation of having China fly a spy balloon clear across the continental United States,” DeSantis added.
According to DeSantis, Russia—in comparison to the Chinese regime—does not pose as serious of a threat to America.
“I don’t think that they are the same threat to our country, even though they’re hostile,” DeSantis said of Russia. “I don’t think they’re on the same level as China.”
Currently, Republican politicians in Congress diverge views on how the United States should gauge Ukraine’s strategic priority.
On one side, lawmakers such as Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) ardently support providing military and other aid to Ukraine and have expressed the view that U.S. involvement in the Russia-Ukraine war serves to demonstrate the U.S.’s resolve in countering the authoritarian axis.
On the other hand, lawmakers such as Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) are wary of giving too much assistance to Ukraine, saying it would worsen inflation or curtail the Unites States’ ability to respond to a potential Beijing invasion of Taiwan. DeSantis appears to fall closer to this end of the spectrum.
According to U.S. Secretary of State Anothony Blinken, China could be considering ramping up its military presence in the Russia-Ukraine war.
“[F]or the most part, China has been engaged in providing rhetorical, political, diplomatic support to Russia. But we have information that gives us concern that they are considering providing lethal support to Russia in the war against Ukraine,” Blinken told ABC’s “This Week” program on Sunday, after meeting with China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, at the Munich Security Conference.
“There are various kinds of lethal assistance that they are at least contemplating providing, to include weapons,” Blinken said.