GOP Split on Support for Ukraine

GOP Split on Support for Ukraine
Local residents stand at a site of a missile strike in Kostiantynivka, Donetsk region, Ukraine, on Jan. 28, 2023. (Oleksandr Ratushniak/Reuters)
Jackson Richman

The Republican Party is split when it comes to supporting Ukraine in its war against Russia, which will reach the one-year mark on Feb. 24.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) introduced earlier this month a “Ukraine Fatigue Resolution,” which has 10 co-sponsors: Reps. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Mary Miller (R-Ill.), Barry Moore (R-Ala.), Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) and Matt Rosendale (R-Mt.). It would halt all U.S. military and financial assistance to Ukraine.
“President Joe Biden must have forgotten his prediction from March 2022, suggesting that arming Ukraine with military equipment will escalate the conflict to ‘World War III,’” said Gaetz in a Feb. 9 press release announcing the resolution. Biden in March actually said that a NATO-Russia conflict could lead to a third world war.

“America is in a state of managed decline, and it will exacerbate if we continue to hemorrhage taxpayer dollars toward a foreign war,” continued Gaetz. “We must suspend all foreign aid for the War in Ukraine and demand that all combatants in this conflict reach a peace agreement immediately.”

“The ruling political class, both right & left, has teamed up w/ the military industrial complex in happily barreling towards WWIII without thinking through the consequences,” posted Luna on Twitter on Feb. 14. “Proud to sponsor @RepGaetz’s bill which would halt any additional aid to Ukraine.”
However, most Republicans support U.S. aid to Ukraine, including GOP congressional leadership.

‘Greatly Exaggerated’

“No, I support Ukraine,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told CNN when asked if he backs Gaetz’s resolution. “I don’t support a blank check, though. We spent $100 billion here, we want to win. I think the actions that President Biden has taken are a bit too late.”

“Reports about the death of Republican support for strong American leadership in the world have been greatly exaggerated,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) at the Munich Security Conference on Feb. 17. “My party’s leaders overwhelmingly support a strong, involved America and a robust trans-Atlantic alliance. Don’t look at Twitter, look at people in power.”

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Ms.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told CNN anchor Jake Tapper on Feb. 22 that “about 90 percent” of the GOP caucus supports “giving Ukraine the tools it needs to win the war.”

Appearing on ABC’s “This Week” on Feb. 19, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) called for the continuation of support to the Eastern European country.

“The British are training Ukrainian pilots. I believe a decision will be imminent here when we get back to Washington that the administration will start training Ukrainian pilots on the F-16. They need the weapons system,” he said. The Biden administration has refused to transfer fighter jets to Ukraine.

Graham also responded to Vice President Kamala Harris telling the Munich Security Conference on Feb. 18 that Russia has committed crimes against humanity.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) in Washington on May 25, 2022. (Ting Shen/Pool/Getty Images)
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) in Washington on May 25, 2022. (Ting Shen/Pool/Getty Images)

“And let me just stress this—how can you call this war by Russia a crime against humanity, and that’s what the vice president did in Munich—now, we’re talking about Germany. We’re talking about the vice president of the United States declaring that Russia is involved in crimes against humanity in Germany, of all places—you know, echoes of World War II. How can she say that—and she is correct—and not give the victim of their crime against humanity the defensive weapons they need to stop the crime?

“So we need to do two things quickly, make Russia a state sponsor of terrorism under U.S. law, which would make it harder for China to give weapons to Russia, and we need to start training Ukrainian pilots on the F-16 now.”

Congress has appropriated over $120 billion and the Biden administration has pledged almost $80 billion to Ukraine. Of the appropriations, $46.6 billion has been for military assistance.

During Biden’s visit to Ukraine and Poland this week, a segment of Republicans expressed criticism of U.S. support for Ukraine.

“This is incredibly insulting. Today on our President’s Day, Joe Biden, the President of the United States chose Ukraine over America, while forcing the American people to pay for Ukraine’s government and war. I can not [sic] express how much Americans hate Joe Biden,” posted Greene on Twitter.
According to the Pew Research Center, 40 percent of Republicans and those who lean Republican believe the United States is providing too much support to Ukraine, an 8-percentage-point increase from September. In May 2022, 34 percent of that demographic said the United States wasn’t providing enough assistance to the Eastern European country, 15 percentage points lower from March 2022.

The schism in the GOP when it comes to Ukraine isn’t black and white, however. House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) and 22 other Republicans have called for oversight of U.S. assistance to Ukraine.

On Feb. 22, they sent a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Samantha Power asking them for documents and information on how the agencies administering assistance are ensuring the funds are not wasted, abused, or used fraudulently.

Providing security and humanitarian assistance for warfighting and reconstruction purposes comes with an inherent risk of fraud, waste, and abuse,” they wrote. “The United States must identify these risks and develop oversight mechanisms to mitigate them.”

Four of the Republicans who signed the letter are co-sponsors of the Ukraine Fatigue Resolution.

The GOP split on Ukraine has also spilled into the 2024 presidential race.


“This is a war about freedom, and it’s a war we have to win,” former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley told an audience in Iowa on Feb. 20.

However, Haley said that supporting Ukraine “doesn’t mean we ever should put troops on the ground, and it doesn’t mean we should ever write blank checks. I am never for giving money; I am for giving military equipment [and] ammunition so that they can do the job themselves.”

Former President Donald Trump, who has sought to mediate a peace agreement between Russia and Ukraine, blasted Biden’s trip to Ukraine.

“FIRST COME THE TANKS, THEN COME THE NUKES,” posted Trump on his social media site, Truth Social, on Jan. 26. “Get this crazy war ended, NOW. So easy to do!”

Multimillionaire entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy lamented Biden going to Kyiv and not the scene of the toxic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.

Vivek Ramaswamy. (Jack Wang/The Epoch Times)
Vivek Ramaswamy. (Jack Wang/The Epoch Times)
“If Ohio were Ukraine, the U.S. government would’ve already sent billions of dollars. It’s telling that Biden visits Ukraine today while [Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg] is still yet to visit East Palestine, Ohio. Our leaders & Zelenskyy share a common agenda: Ukraine First,” he posted on Twitter on Feb. 20.

Buttigieg visited East Palestine on Feb. 23.

On Feb. 22, Ramaswamy blasted the U.S. for sending money to Ukraine as opposed to spending it on a certain domestic issue.

“We could solve the Mexican drug cartel problem driving our fentanyl crisis for a *fraction* of what we’ve spent in Ukraine. Total decimation. If the US military has one purpose above all, it’s to defend America’s home turf. Yet the defense establishment recoils at this idea,” he posted on Twitter.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is expected to announce his candidacy for the White House in the coming months, has decried U.S. support for Ukraine.

“They [the Biden administration] have effectively a blank-check policy with no clear strategic objective identified,” DeSantis said. “These things can escalate. And I don’t think it’s in our interest to be getting into a proxy war with China getting involved over things like the borderlands or over Crimea.” The United States has warned China not to give arms to Russia for its war in Ukraine.

Jackson Richman is a Washington correspondent for The Epoch Times. In addition to Washington politics, he covers the intersection of politics and sports/sports and culture. He previously was a writer at Mediaite and Washington correspondent at Jewish News Syndicate. His writing has also appeared in The Washington Examiner. He is an alum of George Washington University.
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