Sen. Chris Murphy: 'You Can Have Good Faith Objections to US Support for Ukraine' (Unless You're DeSantis or Trump)

Susan Jones | March 15, 2023 | 9:40am EDT
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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is viewed by many Republicans as the leading alternative to White House candidate Donald Trump. (Photo by CHENEY ORR/AFP via Getty Images)
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is viewed by many Republicans as the leading alternative to White House candidate Donald Trump. (Photo by CHENEY ORR/AFP via Getty Images)

( - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently described the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a "territorial dispute" that does not involve America’s “vital national interests.”

Former President Donald Trump warned this month that the war in Ukraine will lead to World War III, "if something doesn’t happen fast. I am the only candidate who can make this promise: I will prevent World War III,” Trump said in a speech at the Conservative Political Action conference.

But many other Republicans -- and Democrats -- stand firmly behind the massive U.S. support for Ukraine.

One of those Democrats is Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, who told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Wednesday that "you can have good faith objections to U.S. support for Ukraine."

"We should always be willing to have a debate about whether it makes sense or not for the United States to send troops abroad, to support wars overseas," Murphy said. "It's not by definition unpatriotic to question U.S. military involvement in places outside the United States."

But in the next breath, Murphy said the position taken by DeSantis and Trump "doesn't appear to be a good faith objection."

"The Republican Party, particularly the Trump wing of the Republican Party, has decided to turn its back on democracy," Murphy said. "They have tremendous affection for dictators because they've decided that they would rather sacrifice American democracy, if that's what's necessary to stay in power.

"And so I worry that DeSantis' and Trump's support for Putin and opposition to Ukraine is part and parcel of a broader lack of enthusiasm for democracy and self-governance. So I'm willing to have the debate about whether it makes sense to, you know, send money to Ukraine.

"I think it makes a ton of sense because it is just true, if we don't defend Ukraine, the entire post World War II order falls apart. It is not hyperbole to suggest Putin will move on a NATO country, which will definitely put U.S. troops into the fight -- that China will move on Taiwan, all of a sudden, we live in a chaos world. This is a, frankly, worthwhile and relatively small investment to protect U.S. Security and global security in the long run."

As for the war itself, Murphy said, "I don't know what's going to happen this summer, but I know that Ukraine has stood up to Russia, defied the odds and they're likely to do that over the course of the rest of this fighting year. And hopefully that convinces Putin it's time to sit down and try to bring an end to this conflict."

'Free societies don't fight long wars well'

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, asked about the Republican divide on U.S. involvement with Ukraine, told Fox News on Wednesday, "There's a very fundamental argument underway. And it's really two parts," he said:

"One part is, having lost a 20-year war in Afghanistan, how much do we want to run around the planet not exactly knowing what we're doing and not getting anything done, but losing lives and spending money?

"And the other part is, as long as Joe Biden is president, why would you trust anything? They're not protecting the American border. I would argue the southern border with Mexico is far more important to the United States than Ukraine.

“I have no faith in Biden, whose family has been corrupted by China, when it comes to our biggest competitor, which is China.

"And now you come to Ukraine. You have a Defense Department, which lost $82 billion in equipment to the Taliban; a Defense Department which is now more worried about being woke than being effective. That really undermines the willingness of many Americans to give them a blank check. And Speaker McCarthy's line is right -- no, they shouldn't get a blank check.

"I personally believe defeating Putin matters, but I also think the current administration has no strategy -- they have no ability to defeat Putin. And free societies don't fight long wars well. People get tired of it, they don't understand where it's going, and I think you're seeing a real erosion, largely because Joe Biden is so incompetent."

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