Two Republicans floated as potential 2024 US GOP presidential candidates made clear Saturday that they disagree with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — who is also positioned for a 2024 run — on the issue of Russia's war in Ukraine.
Former Vice President Mike Pence and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu drew a contrast with DeSantis' comments describing the invasion as a "territorial dispute" that isn't of "vital" national interest to the US.
At a foreign policy forum with Sen. Joni Ernst in Des Moines, Iowa, Pence reiterated his remarks pushing back on DeSantis’ characterization, saying "the war in Ukraine is not a territorial dispute; it is a Russian invasion."
In an op-ed published by the Washington Post Saturday, Sununu said, "We must stand with our allies around the globe to fight aggressive and dangerous regimes that threaten freedom wherever they are."
DeSantis has condemned the “Biden administration’s virtual ‘blank check’ funding” of the conflict.
But Sununu argued the price of abandoning Ukraine would be much higher.
“There should never be blank checks when it comes to government funding, and all tax dollars must be spent and accounted for wisely. Yet the price the United States is paying in Ukraine today is far less than the price we will face if Putin continues his westward march, threatening the sovereignty and security of NATO,” he wrote.
Pence and Sununu both also argued that supporting Ukraine sends a clear message to China.
“As we think about our largest and most significant strategic challenge, which is China, the best way to send a message to China about its military ambitions is to see the free world stand strongly for the sovereignty for the people of Ukraine,” Pence said
Sununu warned Chinese President Xi Jinping "is watching,” and said abandoning Ukraine would "send an unmistakable signal to dictators that the United States does not stand with its allies, nor for the expansion of freedom."
He added that some of his Republican colleagues have “lost their moral compass on foreign policy," and said "as Republicans, we should support freedom, not abandon it."