There are few issues that divide the Republican Party these days more than Ukraine, and whether the U.S. should continue to fund the country’s defense against Russia’s invasion.
According to one count, about 40 Republicans in Congress, mostly in the House but a few Senators as well, have called for an end of U.S. funding for Ukraine. However, 40 is only a small fraction of the caucus, and those who are pushing a full cutoff of Ukraine aid do not have anywhere close to the votes to push that through. Most elected Republicans, in fact, continue to support Ukraine aid.
This has led, however, to some frayed alliances in the GOP. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) voted this week against Ukraine aid, which put her on the opposite side as her ally, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, and on the same side as most of the hard-liners who have been threatening to depose McCarthy as speaker. That is one of many issues that must be resolved in order to avoid a government shutdown at then end of this month.
Also this week, presidential candidate Nikki Haley put some distance between herself and Donald Trump, also over Ukraine.
Haley served in the Trump Administration as United Nations ambassador and while running for president has rarely criticized Trump. She has occasionally gestured towards the need for a younger generation to take over leadership, while not saying anything too critical about Trump or his record as president. This has led to much speculation that Haley could wind up as Trump’s running mate.
This week, however, Haley was a bit more critical than usual.
According to The Hill, Haley made a campaign appearance this week in New Hampshire, where she called Trump “weak in the knees” when it comes to support for Ukraine.
She actually praised Trump first, before delivering the criticism.
“He was the right president at the right time,” Haley said of her boss-turned-opponent. “He broke things that needed to be broken. He listened and brought in a group of people who felt unheard.”
But then she delivered a more piercing assessment.
“He was thin-skinned and easily distracted. He didn’t do anything on fiscal policy and really spent a lot of money and we’re paying the price for it,” Haley said at the New Hampshire event. “He used to be good on foreign policy and now he has started to walk it back and get weak in the knees when it comes to Ukraine.”
The Ukraine War and GOP
Haley is on the side of the party that favors continued aid to Ukraine. Trump, when the issue has come up during the campaign, has vowed to quickly end the war between Russia and Ukraine, but has not enumerated many details in terms of how exactly he would do that.
The former ambassador does appear a strong candidate to serve as Trump’s running mate, should he win the nomination again. She has an accomplished resume, as a former governor and ambassador, and is thought to have acquitted herself well throughout her campaign. Haley has added to the speculation by frequently criticizing Vice President Kamala Harris, including by insinuating repeatedly that because of President Biden’s age, Harris is the Republican’s actual opponent in the 2024 election.
Some head-to-head polls of hypothetical presidential election matchups have also recently shown that Haley is the best performer against Biden, compared to the other Republican candidates.
The recent CNN/SSRS poll, taken earlier this month, found that Haley leads Biden with 49 percent of the vote compared to 43 percent. While some of the other Republicans also lead Biden, Haley’s margin in that poll is the largest and exceeds the margin for error.
Author Expertise and Experience
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Stephen has authored thousands of articles over the years that focus on politics, technology, and the economy for over a decade. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) at @StephenSilver, and subscribe to his Substack newsletter.
From the Vault