In Ohio, Senate candidate J.D. Vance (R) said the United States would have to “stop the money spigot to Ukraine eventually.” J.R. Majewski, a fellow Ohio Republican running for a House seat, has criticized President Biden for “[cutting] billion-dollar checks to Ukraine” during a time of inflation at home. In New Hampshire, Senate candidate Don Bolduc (R) said U.S. aid to Ukraine is “money we don’t have.”
Opposition to — or skepticism of — sending more U.S. money to Ukraine has accelerated within the GOP in recent weeks, with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) signaling earlier this month that Republicans would end or limit spending on the war if they take control of the House in next week’s midterms.
The threat to cut funding marks a sharp turn for a party whose members almost universally embraced aiding Ukraine after Russia invaded in February. Over the past eight months, supporters of former president Donald Trump have joined with skeptics of military intervention and anti-Biden forces within the GOP to challenge traditionally hawkish Republicans.
The result is a rare fissure in the GOP, one likely to flare into a more open battle if Republicans retake Congress and are faced with forceful requests from Biden and emotional appeals from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Just last week, a group of Republican lawmakers opposed a provision that Democrats had inserted in a must-pass defense authorization bill that would allow the Justice Department to send Ukraine millions of dollars in yachts and other assets seized from Russia.
Most Republicans, like Vance and Bolduc, frame their objections in terms of fiscal responsibility, saying the money would be better spent on problems at home. In a few cases, far-right candidates have echoed Trump’s praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin and called for aid to be cut off entirely. [Continue reading…]