Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine, who supports sending more assistance to Ukraine, told Meet the Press NOW Thursday that the U.S. should also have already started a process to send F-16 fighter jets to the war zone, a step the Biden administration has so far been unwilling to take.
“Last September, many of us called on the administration to start training in F-16 or 4th generation aircraft, and of course, that hasn’t even begun,” Golden said. “A lot of people were calling for this before the start of the war, and it didn’t happen.”
Asked whether the administration acted too slowly to get advanced weapons to Ukraine, Golden argued “we should act decisively” once a national interest is established indicating there’s a hesitancy coming from the administration to give Ukraine the full capabilities to win the war.
“We have to deliver new advanced technologies that can help advance the fight on the battlefield,” Golden said, “I think it’s a fear of crossing some kind of red line that may not even exist. … If there was going to be some kind of red line to be crossed, one would have thought we had already gotten there.”
Golden says President Biden has made the case to the American people that defending Ukraine is a priority by addressing the issue in his State of the Union and inviting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to speak before Congress, but “would defer” to the administration on whether they have been clear enough on their message.
Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D, a member of the House Select Committee on China took a similar stance to Golden in supporting U.S. aid to Ukraine.
Johnson told Meet the Press NOW that defending Ukraine and Taiwan is in the country’s best interest because Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin are, “every bit as dictatorial and tyrannical as any of the famous villains of the 20th century.”
“We got to be on the side of the good guys,” Johnson said. “We don’t let dictators take land with force.”
Johnson also supports providing arms to Taiwan and said he considers the U.S. to already be in a Cold War with China.
“I think we’ve been in a Cold war for 10 or 15 years, but it’s been a one-sided Cold War,” Johnson said.
CORRECTION (February 24, 11:34 p.m. ET): An earlier version of this article misquoted Rep. Dusty Johnson. He said "we don't let dictators take land with force," not with forks.