Gov. Kristi Noem speaks to reporters March 6, 2023, at the Capitol in Pierre. (Makenzie Huber/South Dakota Searchlight)
Governor Kristi Noem, who’s viewed as a potential Republican presidential or vice presidential candidate, described America’s military aid to Ukraine as a costly strategic mistake.
“It’s pushing Russia into an alliance with China — meaning Russia may soon draw from China’s large weapon arsenal,” Noem told Tucker Carlson of Fox News. Carlson posted Noem’s written responses to a Ukraine questionnaire Monday.
Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, launching a war that has since resulted in thousands of people killed and millions displaced. The New York Times reported at the end of January, citing estimates from Norway’s defense chief, “that Russia had suffered 180,000 dead and wounded, while Ukraine had 100,000 killed or wounded in action along with 30,000 civilian deaths.”
As of January, the United States had provided about $25 billion in military aid to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden administration.
Noem indicated the United States should not have gotten involved in the conflict.
“This should be Europe’s fight, not ours,” Noem said. “We should not waste taxpayer dollars at the risk of nuclear war.”
Differing from the delegation
Noem’s comments do not align with those of South Dakota’s all-Republican congressional delegation.
In December, Rep. Dusty Johnson said “we must ensure the dollars are being used wisely and as they were intended by Congress,” but added, “assisting Ukraine in their fight against Russia’s invasion is a noble cause.”
Sen. Mike Rounds shared a similar sentiment in an interview with The Washington Post.
“Anytime you have one country invading another country, and basically putting the entire free world at risk, you have to respond,” Rounds said.
Sen. John Thune has made similar statements.
“The Ukrainian people cannot sustain this war without military support from the United States and other free countries,” Thune said in prepared remarks on the Senate floor in May. “The weapons and military resources we have supplied are playing a crucial role in enabling Ukraine to continue standing up to Russian aggression. And it’s essential that we continue that support for as long as the Ukrainian people need it.”
South Dakota Governor @govkristinoem answers our Ukraine questionnaire:
Q: Is opposing Russia in Ukraine a vital American national strategic interest?
A: “The primary external threat to the United States in Communist China. Our opposition to Russia has heightened this threat… https://t.co/UGRbSPRInK
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) March 14, 2023
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