DeSantis says it’s more important for US to back Israel than Ukraine

By Isaac M December 13, 2023

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has said that supporting Israel in its war against Hamas is more important than supporting Ukraine in its war against Russia.

At a CNN town hall event on Tuesday night, the Republican presidential hopeful argued that funding Israel‘s military was a better use of Americans’ tax dollars, according to The Hill.

“For me, that’s an easy answer,” Mr DeSantis said. “It’s the state of Israel because they are our strongest ally in the Middle East.

“We have a relationship with them that’s like no other, and they have the whole world against [them]. They require the United States to be there to stand with them as a friend.”

He added: “You know, Ukraine has all of Europe. These European countries need to start pulling their weight. They don’t meet their Nato dues.”

His comments appeared to be a reference to Nato’s target that each nation spends two per cent of their GDP on their military, which only 11 out of 31 members are on track to meet this year.

Mr DeSantis’s remark comes as Republicans in Congress continue to block the latest tranche of funding for Ukraine, despite a visit from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday.

Ron DeSantis during a meet and greet event in Iowa on 7 Dec 2023

(Charlie Neibergall/AP)

The Florida governor told CNN that he backs the Republican lawmakers holding up the Ukraine aid package in exchange for concessions from Democrats on immigration.

“What they are saying is, you’ve got to defend our own country’s borders before you start sending money all across this world,” he said.

The US has forked over more than $75bn to support Ukraine in its war effort since the start of Russia’s unprovoked invasion in 2022, according to The New York Times.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has called for an extra $14.3bn in aid for Israel, on top of the roughly $3.8bn the US sends each year.

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