DeSantis saying Ukraine support is not “vital” national interest sparks backlash in GOP

Several key Republican senators on Tuesday pushed back against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ recent comments that US support for Ukraine is not a “vital” national interest, exposing a key intraparty fault line ahead of the 2024 election.

“To say this doesn’t matter is to say that war crimes don’t matter,” South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham told CNN, adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression will “go beyond Ukraine” and that “if you don’t get that, you’re not listening to what he’s saying.”

On Monday, DeSantis, who has not yet announced a presidential bid, said in a statement responding to a questionnaire from Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that “while the US has many vital national interests … becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them.”

“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,” DeSantis wrote in response to Carlson’s request for 2024 GOP presidential candidates to provide their views on the war in Ukraine.

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