The top likely contenders for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination vary in their ideas towards providing support to Ukraine, with some pushing for more interventionist policies, others advocating for a peace deal, and a few keeping quiet about their plans.
Former Trump officials Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo and Nikki Haley — all likely 2024 presidential candidates — have stood out in the Republican Party’s response to Ukraine by pushing back against isolationism and campaigning for more aid.
The U.S. has currently provided Ukraine with over $60 billion since the start of Russia’s invasion in February.
Former Vice President Pence said that the party has “no room” for “apologists to Putin,” and that the U.S. should provide “generosity” until “Russia relents and until peace is restored.”
“As Russia continues its unconscionable war of aggression to Ukraine, I believe that conservatives must make it clear that Putin must stop and Putin will pay,” Pence said while speaking at the Heritage Foundation. “There can be no room in the conservative movement for apologists to Putin. There is only room in this movement for champions of freedom.”
Pence also visited the Poland-Ukraine border in March to meet with Ukrainian refugees.
Former Secretary of State Pompeo has made repeated statements on Twitter bolstering the need for Conservatives to back Ukraine, writing “Conservatives need to make the case: helping Ukraine defeat Putin is in our interest.”
Conservatives need to make the case: helping Ukraine defeat Putin is in our interest.
It will strengthen our national security, deter a foe, and lower costs for Americans.
— Mike Pompeo (@mikepompeo) November 12, 2022
In April, former U.N. Ambassador Haley criticized the Biden administration for making Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy “beg” for aid, while Ukraine is undergoing a “genocide.”
Haley has campaigned for the U.S. and NATO to provide more funding to Ukraine, because she says pushing back against Russia would also send a signal to China.
“NATO and the United States need to continue to support Ukraine because they’re almost there,” Haley said on Fox News. “They just have to keep supporting them, not in blank checks, but give them the anti-drone equipment, give them what they need to finish the deal, because this will set the tone not only for Russia, but China.”
Haley hinted at joining the presidential race in November, saying she is considering it “in a serious way,” and that the next president should “shred” a deal President Joe Biden may make with Iran “on her first day in office.”
Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has also advocated for a stronger approach on the Russia-Ukraine war, campaigning for the Senate to sanction Nord Stream 2.
“If we don’t come together today, Ukraine risks getting wiped off the map altogether,” Cruz said before the vote to sanction the pipeline.
He pushed for the U.S. to fund additional lethal aid to Ukraine after having a conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in March.
Republican South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott has also pressed the Biden administration to provide more aid at a quicker pace.
Presidential candidate Donald Trump has not publicly outlined how he will handle the Russia-Ukraine war, and did not mention the war during his 2024 announcement speech. The former president has insisted, however, that the invasion would not have happened under his watch, and that Russia and Ukraine should have negotiations before Russia’s potential use of nuclear weapons. (RELATED: Trump Announces 2024 Presidential Run)
“With potentially hundreds of thousands of people dying, we must demand the immediate negotiation of the peaceful end to the war in Ukraine, or we will end up in World War III and there will be nothing left of our planet all because stupid people didn’t have a clue,” Trump said at an Arizona rally. “They really don’t understand … what they’re dealing with. The power of nuclear. They have no idea what they’re doing.”
Trump has also hinted that he would be open to fostering the negotiations himself.
“Be strategic, be smart (brilliant!), get a negotiated deal done NOW,” Trump wrote on Truth Social. “Both sides need and want it. The entire World is at stake. I will head up group???”
Meanwhile, others in the Republican Party have been almost entirely silent on their stance on the Russia-Ukraine war.
Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has not made a comprehensive statement outlining his view of the war.
His few comments about the war include criticizing Ukrainian officials for attacking Elon Musk over a tweet they saw as pro-Russian. The Tesla CEO, who provided Ukraine with Starlink satellites, posted a poll on Twitter with possible solutions to the war, but said that Crimea was “Khrushchev’s mistake.”
“When Russia invaded Ukraine, Elon Musk positioned his satellites over Ukraine and gave them these things. So they’ve actually been using his devices to be able to defend their country, and I guess some of the people in the government were attacking Musk,” DeSantis said. “And I’m just thinking to myself, ‘He’s doing this for free,’ Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. Good Lord!”
In 2018, DeSantis praised Trump for providing aid to Ukraine when former President Barack Obama refused.