DeSantis Flip-Flops on Sending Military Aid to Ukraine as He Prepares to Run for President

Image via Getty Images/Jeff Swensen

By Giselle Balido

March 1, 2023

After Russia’s invasion in 2022, the governor claimed President Biden had not done enough to support Ukraine. Now he raises questions about whether it is in the US’ best interest to be involved in the conflict. 

Gov. Ron DeSantis has flip-flopped on his position to support arming Ukraine to fight Russia, a move that he supported in the past as a deterrent to Russian aggression in Eastern Europe.

In 2014 and 2015, the then Florida congressman urged President Barack Obama to send “defensive and offensive” weapons to Ukraine. According to a review by CNN, he even voted to refuse to fund a new missile defense treaty with Russia until they withdrew from Ukraine.

“We in the Congress have been urging the president, I’ve been, to provide arms to Ukraine. They want to fight their good fight. They’re not asking us to fight it for them. And the president has steadfastly refused. And I think that that’s a mistake,” DeSantis said at the time.

RELATED: Florida Democrats’ Pleas Went Unheard: DeSantis Administration Will Not Divest From Russian Assets

Blaming Biden

After Russia’s initial invasion in February 2022, DeSantis blasted President Joe Biden’s administration’s response, blaming the invasion on Biden by citing the Afghanistan withdrawal.

“My feeling is that they haven’t done enough, Europe or Biden’s administration, to really hit Putin where it counts,” he said in a February 2022 news conference, emphasizing the Russian economy’s reliance on oil and gas exports.

Changing Course

But last week he raised questions about whether it was in the United States’ best interest to be involved in the conflict. 

During his comments, DeSantis added that Russia was not “the same threat to our country, even though they’re hostile,” and downplayed the threats that Russia could invade NATO countries. 

RELATED: DeSantis Rails Against Canada, Australia, While Failing to Address Putin’s Invasion of Ukraine

The governor’s shift in course comes in anticipation of a potential presidential run. DeSantis has taken a more insular view of the situation now that he faces a growing isolationist and conservative Republican party. In fact, a recent poll from Pew Research Center shows that 40% of Republican and Republican-leaning independent voters currently believe the US is providing too much support for Ukraine. This is up from 9% last year. 

A Rift in the GOP

However, DeSantis faces dissent within the GOP, as during an address at the University of Texas last week on the first anniversary of the war, former Vice President Mike Pence warned that it would be “wrong” to think Russian President Vladimir Putin would stop trying to take control of Ukraine. Pence then cautioned that a Russian victory in Ukraine could threaten the sovereignty of NATO allies and bring the US into a broader conflict.


  • Giselle Balido

    Giselle is Floricua's political correspondent. She writes about the economy, environmental and social justice, and all things Latino. A published author, Giselle was born in Havana and grew up in New Jersey and Miami. She is passionate about equality, books, and cats.



Local News

Related Stories
Share This