(Bloomberg) -- Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis said he opposes NATO membership for Ukraine, saying he doesn’t think it’s in the US’s security interest.
“I don’t think NATO membership is in our interest, to me,” DeSantis said on The Glenn Beck Program podcast. “All that would do was add more obligations to us, so if you’re adding more obligations, then what are benefits that we’re getting in return?”
DeSantis also reiterated in the episode that he doesn’t believe the US should give a “blank check” to Ukraine unless it’s using leverage to bring the conflict to a conclusion.
The episode was released two days after President Joe Biden met with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who made an appeal for US lawmakers to continue supporting the country’s military as it fights Russia’s invasion. The administration announced a military assistance package, while also agreeing to provide a small number of ATACMS missiles, a long-sought after weapon by Ukrainians, despite initial reluctance from Biden.
Still, future rounds of aid will need to be approved by Congress after existing appropriations run out at the end of the month. A small, influential bloc of US House Republicans have criticized the idea of continued assistance, saying that the country should focus on enforcing the US border.
Though the White House has vowed to fight for more war aid, Biden said he doesn’t think now is the appropriate time for Ukraine to join NATO. “I don’t think there is unanimity in NATO about whether or not to bring Ukraine into the NATO family now, at this moment, in the middle of a war,” Biden said in a July CNN interview.
The Florida governor received criticism earlier this year from top Republican lawmakers after referring to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a “territorial dispute.”
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