DeSantis’ claim that support for Ukraine is not a ‘vital’ national interest sparks backlash in the GOP

(CNN) Several key Republican senators on Tuesday pushed back against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ recent comments. Support for Ukraine Not a “core” national interest, exposes Main internal fault line Ahead of the 2024 elections.

“To say it doesn’t matter is that war crimes don’t matter,” South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham told CNN that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression “will go beyond Ukraine” and “if you don’t.” Understand, you didn’t listen to him.”

On Monday, DeSantis, who has yet to announce a presidential bid, said in a statement in response Quiz From Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, “While the United States has many core national interests… further entanglement in the territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them.”

“We cannot prioritize intervening in an escalating foreign war over protecting our own homeland, especially when tens of thousands of Americans die each year from drugs smuggled across our open borders and the rapid destruction of weapons critical to our own security.” DeSantis replied.

The comments contrasted with the traditional GOP stance of former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley and former deputy ambassador Nikki Haley, who are ideologically close to former President Donald Trump, the biggest name in the 2024 primary, and already in the race. The widely expected president is Mike Pence. Trump and DeSantis lead a viable GOP field New CNN poll Republicans and Republican-leaning independents were released Tuesday.

Sen. John Cornyn told CNN that he was “kind of surprised” to learn of DeSantis’ position, noting that it “raises questions.”

“I mean, Governor DeSantis is a veteran. He’s a smart guy. I think he’s a great governor, and I don’t understand him saying that Ukraine is not important to the United States,” the Texas Republican said.

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Senate Republican Whip John Thune said he disagreed with DeSantis, “but there is disagreement among members of our party. He’s not alone in that.”

“There’s going to be other candidates on our side in ’24 who may share that view, and certainly it’s held by Republicans across the country,” the South Dakota Republican said. “I would argue, I think the majority of people in this country recognize how important it is that Ukraine expels Russia, stops this aggression, and that they remain a sovereign country.”

He speaks on that day Hugh Hewitt Radio ShowSen. Marco Rubio dismissed DeSantis’ war as a “territorial dispute.”

“If the United States decides to invade Canada or take over the Bahamas, that’s not a territorial dispute,” said Rubio, who serves on the Foreign Relations Committee. Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “Just because someone claims something doesn’t mean they own it.”

The Florida Republican added, “Ukraine has a national security interest. It’s not America’s first national security interest, but it’s an important one.”

The top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee also pushed back when asked about DeSantis’ claim that funding Ukraine was not in America’s best interest.

“I personally think that the United States should support Ukraine financing. There will always be debates about how it should be done and to what extent, but no, I believe that the United States should support the effort in Ukraine,” Chen said. Mike Crabo of Idaho.

He added: “If we don’t hold the line in Ukraine now, we’re going to see the problem spread to other European countries.”

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Haley — who, like Trump, has announced an early bid for the GOP nomination — made more pointed comments about DeSantis on Tuesday, saying he was “copying” Trump’s stance on Ukraine.

“President Trump is right to say that Governor DeSantis is copying him—first on his style, then on entitlement reform and now on Ukraine,” Haley said in a statement.

Trump told reporters traveling with him Monday night that he believed DeSantis was “following what I’m saying” in Ukraine. CBS News. “It’s a twist. He’s totally different. He wants whatever I want,” the former president added.

A February review CNN’s KFile DeSantis once strongly supported arming Ukraine as a conservative Congress in 2014 and 2015 to counter Russian aggression in Eastern Europe. In an interview from December 2017, DeSantis continued to align himself with the “Reagan school of hard-line views on Russia,” criticizing Democrats for not supporting sending aid to Ukraine.

CNN’s Manu Raju, Ted Barrett, Morgan Rimmer, Steve Contorno, Kate Sullivan, Jessica Dean, Kaitlan Collins, Kristen Holmes M Stack, Andrew Kaczynski and Olivia Alafris contributed to this report.

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