Mar 15, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Schumer blasts DeSantis for Ukraine aid comments

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on March 09, 2023

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) speaks during a press conference at the Capitol on March 9. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday slammed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) for saying that defending Ukraine against Russia wasn't a "vital" national interest for the U.S.

Driving the news: "I have to wonder what he would’ve thought if he was around in the 1930s," Schumer said on the Senate floor.

  • "We know what happened then, when many refused to stand up to aggression. A world war resulted," he continued.

The big picture: DeSantis' remarks echoed the rhetoric of former President Trump, a likely 2024 rival, on support for Ukraine, exposing a GOP rift over foreign policy.

  • “While the U.S. has many vital national interests ... becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them,” DeSantis said in a statement that aired Monday on Fox News.
  • Some senators in the pro-Ukraine wing of the GOP rebuked DeSantis over his views.
  • Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told Politico that he is "disturbed" by DeSantis' stance. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that the U.S. does "have an interest" in providing more aid.

What he's saying: Schumer said that it "was troubling to hear some on the hard-right not condemn [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, so much as excuse him."

  • "The hard-right's isolationism is dangerous, it is un-American, un-democratic and it is woefully blind to the lessons of history," he said.
Go deeper