The great hope among many Republicans is that Ron DeSantis will run for president in 2024 as a smarter version of former President Donald Trump. But DeSantis’s stance on the U.S. interest in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is proving unfortunate for anyone harboring that hope.
In the past, the Florida governor’s backers may have been able to explain away his more controversial decisions—to align himself with election deniers, say, or use false pretenses to send migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, or call for the arrest of Dr. Anthony Fauci—as pro forma MAGA pandering. His position on Ukraine is different.
As Will Saletan recounts, DeSantis, in response to a Tucker Carlson questionnaire, accused the Biden administration of “virtual ‘blank check’ funding” of Ukraine in a “territorial dispute” that the United States should not be “entangled” in because it is not one of “our country’s most pressing challenges.” By characterizing the conflict in this way—and signaling that if he were elected president, he would not continue to support Ukraine in its fight for survival—DeSantis is knowingly driving a wedge between himself and his GOP peers. [Continue reading…]