How Ukraine is fueling bitter divisions among Republicans: conservative

How Ukraine is fueling bitter divisions among Republicans: conservative

When President Joe Biden made a surprise visit to Kyiv on Monday, February 20 and expressed his solidarity with President Volodymyr Zelensky, far-right Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was quick to respond — and not in a favorable way. DeSantis, who appears to be gearing up for a 2024 presidential run but hasn't yet made any type of formal announcement, went on the attack and accused Biden of prioritizing Ukraine over his own country.

Never Trump conservative and former GOP strategist Rick Wilson, in contrast, praised Biden's Kyiv visit as an "alpha move" and an example of smart foreign policy while lambasting the MAGA movement for not being on "the right side of history" in Ukraine. But DeSantis, since late February, has only doubled down on his isolationist views on Ukraine and maintained that the war in that country should not be a priority for the United States.

In an article published by The Bulwark on March 16, Never Trumper Amanda Carpenter takes a look at differing views on Ukraine within the Republican Party. And those differences, she emphasizes, are illustrated by comparing what DeSantis has had to say with what Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) had to say at the Munich Security Conference in Germany in February.

READ MORE:Former GOP strategist praises Biden's 'alpha move' in Ukraine while slamming MAGA response

McConnell told the crowd, "Reports about the death of Republican support for strong American leadership in the world have been greatly exaggerated…. Republican leaders are committed to a strong trans-Atlantic alliance. We are committed to helping Ukraine."

Carpenter notes that GOP views on Ukraine range from the MAGA isolationism of DeSantis, former President Donald J. Trump, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) and Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) to the more "hawkish" views of McConnell, former Vice President Mike Pence and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Missouri). And Carpenter — herself a strong supporter of Biden's pledge to keep helping Ukraine militarily — fears that the isolationist views on Ukraine will ultimately prevail in the GOP.

"While McConnell would like the world to look to him and other hawkish Republicans for leadership, Trump and DeSantis are likely to crowd them out of the frame as we move further into primary season," Carpenter laments. "The former president and the current governor are probably the two most well-known and most talked-about Republicans in America; they claim the overwhelming majority of GOP polling support for 2024…. Think of it this way: The audience on the right for views like those of DeSantis, Trump, Carlson and Vance is far bigger than the audience for what McConnell said in Germany."

Meanwhile, in a column published by The Bulwark on March 14, another Never Trump conservative, Charlie Sykes, stresses that it is no coincidence that DeSantis recently declared his MAGA isolationism on Fox News' "Tucker Carlson Tonight."

READ MORE:Conservative tears apart Ron DeSantis’ 'cynical, deceptive, anti-American talking points' on Ukraine

"It probably should not come as a surprise that Ron DeSantis chose Tucker Carlson's show to make his first major foreign policy announcement,” Sykes argues. "Tucker, after all, remains the keeper of the right's restless ethical, moral, and ideological id. It doesn't matter that he has been exposed as a shape-shifting charlatan, fabulist, and hypocrite. His flirtation with white nationalism, election denialism, and insurrection revisionism have hardly dented his clout."

The Bulwark columnist, a frequent guest on MSNBC, continues, "Nor, in the new GOP, is it considered disqualifying that Tucker's pro-Putinism has made him a fixture on Russian state television in the midst of a genocidal war. His is the ring that still must be kissed. And kiss it DeSantis did. With enthusiasm. Answering a questionnaire sent out by the Fox News host, the Florida governor aligned himself firmly with the Tucker/Trump position, declaring that protecting Ukraine was not a key U.S. interest…. DeSantis chose to declare his America First bona fides to a guy who declared that he was rooting for Russia."

READ MORE: 'The level of ignorance is just profound': Ron DeSantis blasted over his defense of Russia

Read Amanda Carpenter's full article for The Bulwark at this link.

Read Charlie Sykes' full column for The Bulwark at this link.

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