Former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wy.) ripped Gov. Ron DeSantis’s remarks that getting involved in the Ukraine-Russia war is not in the “vital national interests” of the U.S., saying the Florida Republican is “wrong and seems to have forgotten the lessons of Ronald Reagan.”
“The Ukrainian people are fighting for their freedom,” the former lawmaker said in a statement to The New York Times on Tuesday. “Surrendering to Putin and refusing to defend freedom makes America less safe.”
Cheney, who became one of the main targets of former President Trump and his allies after she publicly fought back against his claims that the 2020 election was stolen, rebuked DeSantis after he said in a response to a Fox News questionnaire of potential 2024 presidential candidates that the U.S. getting further entangled in the war was not in its vital national interests.
“While the U.S. has many vital national interests — securing our borders, addressing the crisis of readiness within our military, achieving energy security and independence, and checking the economic, cultural, and military power of the Chinese Communist Party — becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them,” DeSantis said in response to the cable news outlet.
The sentiment from DeSantis, who has not yet formally announced a presidential bid, follows a trend from some GOP lawmakers who have voiced their disapproval of the level of funding that the U.S. has offered Ukraine in its war against Russia. Some have argued that the Biden administration should not be offering a “blank check” to Ukraine.
But many other Republicans, including Cheney, see the fight as a crucial one to stop the ambitions of Russia and safeguard democracy worldwide. Cheney said the remarks from DeSantis signaled “weakness.”
“Weakness is provocative and American officials who advocate this type of weakness are Putin’s greatest weapon,” Cheney said. “Abandoning Ukraine would make broader conflict, including with China and other American adversaries, more likely.”