Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) blasted Republicans who want to halt U.S. aid to Ukraine, giving a stark warning if Congress fails to continue support for the country amid its war with Russia.
“No one would ever trust us again if we walked away from Ukraine,” Warner said in a Fox News interview with Bret Baier on Thursday.
Numerous Republicans have shown skepticism about the U.S.’s continued military and financial support of Ukraine since the start of its defensive war against Russia early last year. Some have shown a preference for threats from China, arguing that money would be better spent defending Taiwan.
“If Putin wins in Russia, that gives [Chinese President Xi Jinping] a green light in Asia. If you don’t understand that, you’re flunking geopolitics 101,” Warner said.
President Biden is expected to request $100 billion in budget additions Friday, including $10 billion to support Israel in its war against Hamas in Gaza. That package would also include Ukraine and Taiwan support, as well as funding for border security.
While Republican leadership in the Senate has supported the expected proposal, other Republicans have been reluctant, saying that border security assistance likely won’t be enough.
“I’m sure it’s going to be milquetoast and inadequate,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a leading Republican voice on immigration reform.
Cornyn said the Biden administration needs to include significant policy reforms in a national security funding package and that leaving out those reforms “would be a problem for passing the overall bill.”
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) also came out against the package, saying tying Israel’s aid to Ukraine was like holding it hostage.
“There is an immediate responsibility on Congress to make sure Israel has what it needs to defend itself, and to hold that aid hostage by linking it with a myriad of other issues — including bailout for sanctuary cities and more money for Ukraine — is irresponsible,” she said Thursday.
“These separate funding requests should be considered as such,” she added.
The expected budget request comes just after Biden announced a $100 million aid package for Palestinians in Gaza. That humanitarian aid was announced while Biden was in Israel this week.
In the interview Thursday, Warner made clear his support for the humanitarian aid, while reinforcing the U.S. position supporting Israel in the conflict.
“First of all, I think showing empathy for innocent Palestinian citizens, civilians should not be viewed as sympathy for Hamas,” he said. “The sooner those [aid] trucks roll, the better it is for all of our concerns, including Israel.”
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