Ron Desantis Gets Backlash for Saying Ukraine Is Not a “Vital” U.S. Interest

( – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis received heated criticism in the media for his comments about the Ukraine defense effort in the Russo-Ukrainian conflict. DeSantis argued that, in his view, the Russo-Ukraine conflict is a “territorial dispute” and that it is “not a vital U.S. interest,” NBC reported.

DeSantis has argued against the United States “backing” Ukraine and stated that it was “not in the U.S. interest” NPR News reported. NPR analysts reasoned that DeSantis’ comments could be taken as a sign the GOP is divided over Ukraine relief efforts.

DeSantis’ comments followed President Joe Biden’s recent state visit with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on February 20. Biden’s state visit to the war torn country was a “surprise” and received criticism from Congress, CNN reported. The president’s visit in February was the first state visit of its kind since Russia launched its full-scale assault on the nation in 2022. Biden and his administration have prioritized Ukraine, and Biden praised the fact that, a year on, the nation held out against the Russian forces, CNN reported.

Biden’s visit signified the president’s commitment to the Ukraine war efforts, as his presence at the warzone gave a “singular image” of American support for the Zelensky government’s war effort, CNN reported.

DeSantis’s comments led to pushback from across the aisle, and even within his state and party. Senator Marco Rubio (R. Florida) refuted DeSantis’ statement, noting that the Russo-Ukrainian conflict is not a “territorial dispute.” Rubio said it was no more a territorial dispute than if the United States were to decide it wanted to take over Canada or the Bahamas, The Hill reported.

Rubio then explained that Russia’s primary goal is to disable Ukraine’s government and economy, The Hill reported. Rubio said that the desire was more about power over Russia’s neighbor, and having Ukraine in the Russian sphere of influence, and not so much about the land itself.

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