GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley had harsh words for her likely rival, Gov. Ron DeSantis, on Tuesday, saying he was copying former President Donald Trump's platforms as his own.
"President Trump is right when he says Gov. DeSantis is copying him — first in his style, then on entitlement reform, and now on Ukraine," Haley told reporters. "While I agree with [Trump] on most policies, I do not on those."
Haley was addressing a candidate questionnaire from Tucker Carlson, saying her responses on Ukraine and reforming entitlements differed from both Trump and DeSantis.
"America is far better off with a Ukrainian victory than a Russian victory," she said. "If Russia wins, there is no reason to believe it will stop at Ukraine. And if Russia wins, then its closest allies, China and Iran, will become more aggressive."
In the response to the same questionnaire, the Florida governor said, "While the U.S. has many vital national interests — securing our borders, addressing the crisis of readiness within our military, achieving energy security and independence, and checking the economic, cultural, and military power of the Chinese Communist Party — becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them."
In his previous role in Congress, DeSantis favored an active role for the United States on the world stage, more in line with former President Ronald Reagan, Mediaite noted.
Trump, who has said American support for Ukraine could lead to "World War III," on Monday night said DeSantis' new views on Ukraine are a "flip-flop."
"He was totally different. Whatever I want, he wants," Trump said.
DeSantis had a decidedly different opinion in 2017 when he said: "A couple years ago, Obama was refusing to provide lethal aid to Ukraine, they were trying to do a reset. The Democrats lauded that. They viewed guys like me who are — who are more of the Reagan school that’s tough on Russia as kind of throwbacks to the Cold War. They criticized Mitt Romney in 2012. Now all of a sudden because they’re using it against Trump, they’re so concerned about Russia."
In Congress, DeSantis supported Social Security and Medicare reform. Recently he said, "We’re not going to mess with Social Security as Republicans. I think that that’s pretty clear."
DeSantis has not declared a run for the GOP nomination but is expected to do so this spring.
Employing the title of conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly's first book, Haley said with regards to a candidate, "Republicans deserve a choice, not an echo."
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