As the war in Ukraine enters its second year, the conflict is exposing some significant differences between the GOP presidential hopefuls — those who tend to embrace the more hawkish foreign policy of the party’s older guard, and those who embrace the party’s more isolationist wing.
Former President Donald Trump’s comments about the war have largely been critiques of Biden. He’s accused Biden of bringing the country to the brink of World War III and promised that if he were president, “a peace deal [would be] negotiated within 24 hours.“
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has given more public attention to domestic issues, but recently begun to wade into the foreign policy discussion as a possible bid draws nearer. During a Monday interview on Fox News, DeSantis accused the Biden White House of having “effectively a blank-check policy with no clear strategic objective identified,” and lamented the idea of “getting into a proxy war with China getting involved.”
Nikki Haley, who served as Trump’s U.N. ambassador, has spoken about the need to support Ukraine in stark terms reminiscent of the party’s more traditional foreign policy views. During an interview earlier this month on NBC’s TODAY, Haley said that “the war in Ukraine and Russia is not about Ukraine, it’s about freedom. And it’s a war we have to win.” And she said she supports giving Ukraine the equipment it “needs to win, not money but equipment.”
And former Vice President Mike Pence sounds less like his former boss and more like the traditional wing of the GOP — telling Fox News’ Sean Hannity this week that it’s “absolutely essential” America stays in the fight. “After a slow start of providing support to the Ukrainian military by the Biden administration, we’re now providing that support, but now let’s get them what they need, let’s get them the tanks, let’s get them the F16s, let’s get them what they need to finish this fight.”
In other campaign news:
Coming soon to Milwaukee: The Republican National Committee has decided that the first presidential primary debate will take place in August in Milwaukee, which will also host the GOP convention next year.
Pence takes the stage: Former Vice President is weighing in on foreign policy as he weighs a run for the White House. He is scheduled to give a speech on Friday in Texas marking the anniversary of the war in Ukraine, NBC News’ Garrett Haake reports. Meanwhile, the Justice Department is attempting to force Pence to testify before a grand jury as part of its probe into former President Donald Trump’s push to overturn the 2020 election, the New York Times reports.
Speaking of courtroom dramas: Former President Donald Trump can be deposed in lawsuits brought by two FBI officials who have drawn Trump’s ire, a federal judge ruled Thursday.
DeSantis watch: Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., announced an immigration package on Thursday that repeals laws expanding protections to undocumented immigrants that were once popular with Republicans in Florida, Politico reports.
Justice’s timeline: Gov. Jim Justice, R-W. Va., told Sirius XM on Thursday that he would decide whether or not he’s running for Senate “in the next probably 15 days — 15, 20 days.” Justice then added “it would be great to wait until after our session is over … but I pretty well made my decision on what I’m going to do.”
A slam dunk? Former NBA basketball player Enes Freedom told Fox Business he is interested in running for public office. He said would like to be a member of Congress “when the time is right” and he has started having conversations with friends and lawmakers.
She’s running: Author and former Democratic presidential hopeful Marianne Williamson told Medill News Service Thursday that she will run for president again.
Keeping the door open: Former GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz didn’t rule out a Senate bid against Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney in a statement provided to The Washington Examiner.