This week Fox News host Tucker Carlson published a series of responses from current and potential Republican presidential candidates on their positions on the war in the Ukraine. It was interesting to me first who and who didn’t respond but beyond that, what the response were and how each candidate is attempting to create a narrative that will endear them to republican primary voters.
Former President Donald Trump was resolved in his responses that had he still been the president Russia never would have invaded the Ukraine. And, while this might be true, what is more important to the primary voters I speak with is how the billions upon billions of U.S. tax dollars are being spent — mostly with a corrupt regime with no accountability.
The War in the Ukraine has revealed a fault line, a divide, a schism if you will in the current crop of both announced and soon to be announced candidates for president. Many of us remember the days of President Ronald Reagan who famously stated, “Peace through strength.”
As a matter of fact, the Reagan Library’s website says … “The foundation of Reagan’s foreign policy, known as the Reagan Doctrine, was the support of freedom for all people around the world.”
His commitment to the idea of “peace through strength” led to the modernization of our military forces. During Reagan’s administration, the size of the U.S. Army grew by two active divisions and saw the development of new weapons systems.
While “Peace through strength” is what some of the candidates who answered the Tucker Carlson survey attempt to convey, I believe the majority of Republican voters now favor an “America First” agenda. They question how much money we will continue to give — almost unabated — to the Ukraine.
For everything from funding the pension of the Ukrainian people, to providing military and humanitarian support — when does the largesse of the United States end?
Quite simply, we have enormous problems here at home. We have a deficit of almost $32 trillion. That means each taxpayer owes approximately $936,000. We have provided more funding to the Ukraine — approaching $200 Billion in direct and non-direct payments — than we have for our border crisis in the last five years.
Candidates who continue to support unlimited tax dollars to the Ukraine will do so at their own peril. Rarely are elections won based on foreign policy matters. And, it is even less likely a Republican primary will have foreign policy as it’s primary discussion point. That being said, there are significant differences between individuals positions as it relates to the role the United States should play in the Ukraine.
If you believe your tax dollars are better spent overseas, you can find a candidate to agree with you. However, if you believe that taking care of Veterans, homeless, those with mental illness, securing our borders from illegal entry and reducing our deficit so that our children and grandchildren are not burdened with massive debt are more important priorities, I encourage you to find a candidate for office that wants to put America First.
Elections are about choices. There is potentially no bigger choice for a candidate than to decide if they want to put the direct interests of the American people ahead of those overseas. You could argue — helping the people of the Ukraine puts a check on Russian President Vladimir Putin — and that may be true however, I want to help the people who live in my community, my state and my country first.
Corey Lewandowski is a former Trump 2016 campaign manager and 2020 senior adviser.
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