EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was “taking the Chinese position” on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine when the potential Republican 2024 contender called the war a “territorial dispute.”
During an interview with Fox News Digital on Friday, the South Carolina lawmaker and military veteran was asked whether he was concerned about the current front-runners for the GOP presidential nomination — DeSantis, who is expected to announce a White House bid, and former President Donald Trump, who already has — both having a more skeptical position of the current level of U.S. aid to Ukraine than more establishment members of their party.
“Governor DeSantis, who I respect, is basically taking the Chinese position when it comes to Russia’s invasion,” Graham said.
“China calls this a territorial dispute. This is not a territorial dispute. This is an invasion of a sovereign democracy by [Vladimir Putin’s] Russia, barbaric in nature.”
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He added that DeSantis “has got much to be proud of as governor,” but said, “I think any Republican that goes down the Biden road of trying to, you know, go weak in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, is inviting more aggression.”
Graham said of Trump, who he’s already endorsed for 2024, “If he got to be president again — I really do believe Putin wouldn’t have invaded on his watch — but I’ve told President Trump that if you don’t see a nexus between China going after Taiwan, and Russia going into Ukraine, you’re not watching very closely.”
DeSantis had said that “becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia” was not “vital” to U.S. interests in a response to a questionnaire by Tucker Carlson. He argued, “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 also accused President Joe Biden of having “driven Russia into a de facto alliance with China” and bolstering “Putin’s war machine” with his renewable energy policies. Fox News Digital has reached out to DeSantis’ office for comment.
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