Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Tuesday warned the U.S. against turning its back on Ukraine, after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) suggested that Russia's war in Ukraine should not be one of America's "vital national interests."
"If [Russian President Vladimir] Putin loses in Ukraine, then the world resets in all the right ways," Graham tweeted. "If he wins in Ukraine and the west capitulates just like in the past, more conflict is coming."
"When it comes to Putin, you either pay now or pay later," Graham said, adding, "If you do not understand that success by Putin in Russia invites aggression by China against Taiwan, then you have seriously miscalculated one of the most obvious nexuses in the world."
DeSantis, who is widely considered one of the top potential contenders for the Republican nomination in 2024, described the war in Ukraine as a "territorial dispute" in a questionnaire sent out to possible presidential candidates by Fox News' Tucker Carlson.
"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.
"The Biden administration's virtual 'blank check' funding of this conflict for 'as long as it takes,' without any defined objectives or accountability, distracts from our country's most pressing challenges," he added.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) pushed back on DeSantis' remarks, emphasizing that the war is not simply a "territorial dispute."
"Well, it's not a territorial dispute in the sense that any more than it would be a territorial dispute if the United States decided that it wanted to invade Canada or take over the Bahamas," Rubio said during an appearance on the "Hugh Hewitt Show" on Tuesday. "Just because someone claims something doesn't mean it belongs to them."
Graham - unlike some of his GOP colleagues who have echoed the concerns about writing a "blank check" to Ukraine - has pushed the Biden administration to send even more military aid to Kyiv. Graham last month called Biden's decision to rule out F-16 fighter jets for Ukraine "beyond disappointing."
"It has been like pulling teeth with this Administration to get every weapons system requested by Ukraine to the battlefield," Graham lamented at the time.
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