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From Dovish Trump to Hawkish Pence, GOP Presidential Hopefuls Outline Ukraine Policies

'The President must meet with each side, then both sides together, and quickly work out a deal...'

(Ken Silva, Headline USAIs opposing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a vital strategic interest for America? If so, how much blood and treasure should the U.S. contribute to the cause? And does this risk a nuclear world war?

These were a few of the questions leading Republican presidential candidates answered for a segment Fox News host Tucker Carlson aired Monday night. Carlson noted that “it was kind of presumptuous” for a cable news show to be sending lists of questions about the Ukraine war to the candidates, but argued that the GOP needs to address how it would handle the most existentially important issue facing the country.

“No one else in the media seemed to be asking them, and we thought we should,” Carlson said.

Carlson received responses from former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, Texas Gov. Greg Abbot, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C. and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.

Of the respondents, Trump reiterated his well-publicized position that Ukraine and Russia need to negotiate a U.S.-brokered peace deal immediately.

“The President must meet with each side, then both sides together, and quickly work out a deal. This can be easily done if conducted by the right President. Both sides are weary and ready to make a deal,” Trump said. “The meetings should start immediately, there is no time to spare. The death and destruction MUST END NOW!”

While Trump’s position on the matter is clear, other leading Republicans have been relatively tight-lipped on Ukraine. That changed with DeSantis telling Carlson that he does not believe supporting Ukraine is a “vital” national interest—a declaration that earned him reprobation among in the war-friendly mainstream media.

Noem and Abbott also expressed a relatively non-interventionist position on Ukraine. Noem said the government is already “over-extended” in the amount of aid it’s provided to Ukraine, while Abbott said the Biden administration’s “blank check foreign policy” has failed.

Scott was more hawkish on the issue, saying that “degrading the Russian military is in our vital national interest”—though, as Carlson noted, he didn’t explain why that is.

Christie and Pence were the most hawkish. Christie said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was a direct threat to America, and that the U.S. government should help “defeat Russian forces.”

Pence made similar statements, adding that “there is no room for Putin apologists in the Republican Party”—a comment Carlson took as a jab against his show.

Meanwhile, Ramaswamy was verbose but unclear on what exactly his position is on what role the U.S. should play in Ukraine. He said in the long run, the U.S. should seek energy independence so it doesn’t have to do business with “petro dictators.”

Carlson said he did not receive responses from former CIA Director Mike Pompeo, former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu or former U.S. diplomat John Bolton.

Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.

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