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Putin’s Boy from Tallahassee

Kremlin state media has been elated at Ron DeSantis’s statement on Ukraine.
Kremlin state media has been elated at Ron DeSantis’s statement on Ukraine. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images
Julia Ioffe
March 14, 2023

On Monday night, after a year of playing coy, Ron DeSantis, Republican presidential nominee in all but name, finally made clear his position on the war in Ukraine, in response to Tucker Carlson’s unofficial 2024 questionnaire. The Fox News host, who had solicited answers from anyone considering tossing their hat in the ring, was clearly impressed. In addition to giving DeSantis’s statement a glowing summary on the air, Carlson posted the entire statement in a tweet. Putting aside the fact that the tweet was 2,485 characters long—that is, 2,205 over the limit for the rest of us mortals—the message itself was quite clear: helping Ukraine fend off Russia’s invasion was not one of the U.S.’s “vital national interests.” Securing the border, dealing with the fentanyl epidemic? Yes. Vital national interest. Helping Ukraine? Not so much.