Fiona Hill warns Musk is 'transmitting a message' for Putin as DeSantis rushes to billionaire’s defense
Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis appears to be aligning with the increasingly powerful Elon Musk, as the richest man in the world is accused “transmitting a message” for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
On Monday DeSantis blasted Musk’s critics, including Ukraine, who were angered the billionaire had threatened to pull his SpaceX Starlink satellites away from Ukraine. The low earth orbit (LEO) satellites provide internet access to Ukraine and especially its military forces.
Despite the U.S. government having paid Musk $3 million for equipment and to keep the satellites over the war-torn country, Musk threatened to pull the hardware critical to the war effort.
He was quickly excoriated, and recently agreed to keep the satellites in place, at least for now.
DeSantis has generally avoided international issues, leading some to question where he stands. Many were surprised when the ultra-outspoken Florida governor not only was silent when Putin invaded Ukraine, but appeared to dodge questions about the illegal war. Politico at the time called his refusal to speak “eerie.” DeSantis has invested what were at the time about $300 million of his state’s pension funds in Russia, and refused to pull out.
Monday was different.
“When Russia invaded Ukraine, Elon Musk positioned his satellites over Ukraine and gave them these things. So they’ve actually been using his devices to be able to defend their country, and I guess some of the people in the government [of Ukraine] were attacking Musk,” DeSantis said Monday, as Florida Politics reported.
“And I’m just thinking to myself, ‘He’s doing this for free,’ ” DeSantis said. “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. Good Lord!”
“He’s provided that for them for free,” DeSantis continued. “And if you think about it, in a country that big, given what’s going on, that’s tens of millions of dollars that he’s effectively donated.”
Musk, again, has not been doing it “for free,” and aside from the U.S. government payments, the free advertising and public relations are worth great deal as well.
“The mutual admiration society between Musk and DeSantis has existed for some time,” Florida Politics observes. “Musk has mused that DeSantis may be a good choice for President. DeSantis has agreed with Musk’s contentions that ‘whoever controls the teleprompter’ controls President Joe Biden.”
\u201cGov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) admonishes Ukrainian officials for vocally rejecting Elon Musk \u2014 who's been funding satellites to help Ukraine's military \u2014 for proposing that Ukraine make significant territorial concessions to Russia:\n\n"Don't bite the hand that feeds you. Good lord!"\u201d— The Recount (@The Recount) 1666034196
Republican former U.S. Congressman Joe Walsh criticized DeSantis.
“Yet another leading Republican voice ‘admonishing’ Ukrainian officials. Republicans never admonish Putin. But they never hesitate to admonish Ukraine,” he said.
More Perfect Union reporter Jordan Zakarin observed: “Ron DeSantis choosing Elon Musk and Putin over the Ukraine is pretty on brand for a wannabe dictator who caters to billionaires.”
Musk reportedly had spoken to Putin before tweeting what many saw as pro-Putin remarks, but Musk denied the claim.
“Last week, Musk tweeted out his proposals for ending the war in Ukraine ― and they were very similar to what [Ian Bremmer] said Musk told him Putin wanted,” HuffPost reported.
Bremmer is a political scientist with an expert focus on Russia and the founder of a political risk research consulting firm. He has a PhD from Stanford where he wrote, “The politics of ethnicity: Russians in the Ukraine.”
Meanwhile, earlier on Monday Politico reported on “Fiona Hill, one of America’s most clear-eyed observers of Russia and Putin, who served as an adviser to former President Donald Trump and gained fame for her testimony in his first impeachment trial.”
“In the early days of Russia’s war on Ukraine, Hill warned in an interview with POLITICO that what Putin was trying to do was not only seize Ukraine but destroy the current world order. And she recognized from the start that Putin would use the threat of nuclear conflict to try to get his way.”
Politico adds that “despite the setbacks Russia has suffered on the battlefield, Hill thinks Putin is undaunted. She sees him adapting to new conditions, not giving up. And she sees him trying to get the West to accede to his aims by using messengers like billionaire Elon Musk to propose arrangements that would end the conflict on his terms.”
“Putin plays the egos of big men, gives them a sense that they can play a role. But in reality, they’re just direct transmitters of messages from Vladimir Putin,” Hill told Politico.
“It’s very clear that Elon Musk is transmitting a message for Putin,” she says.
Watch DeSantis’ remarks above or at this link.