Rep. David Kustoff. R-Tenn., told Newsmax Friday that he voted to send Ukraine another $40 billion in aid because “we have to make sure Russia doesn’t win.”
“The fact of the matter is we’ve got a totalitarian state that has invaded [a] democratic country,” Kustoff said during “Prime News” Friday. “Innocent people are being hurt;innocent people being killed. And it is in our nation’s interest. We’ve got to make sure that Russia doesn’t win.”
Kustoff was one of 151 Republicans to vote for the aid package which passed the House 568-57 earlier this week, NPR reported.
Fifty-seven GOP House members voted against the bill.
“[If Russia wins] and if Ukraine fails, that it’s going to set off a number of dominoes, and I think that the next domino, and a lot of other people do too, think that it will be China invading Taiwan,” Kustoff said. “If Ukraine wins, that they can survive, if they can prevail, that sets China off their course, and it sends a signal that democratic nations survived, and they prevail over these totalitarian states.”
The package includes $3.4 billion in food aid, $3.4 in more military aid, as well as other relief for the Ukrainian people who have been upended since Russia invaded the country Feb. 24, according to NPR.
NPR reported that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., sent a letter to her House colleagues prior to the vote, asking for their support.
“Time is of the essence — and we cannot afford to wait,” she wrote in the letter. “With this aid package, America sends a resounding message to the world of our unwavering determination to stand with the courageous people of Ukraine until victory is won.”
President Joe Biden dropped his requests for further COVID aid from the package so that it would pass Congress more quickly, according to the NPR report.
“This aid has been critical to Ukraine’s success on the battlefield,” NPR reported Biden said Monday. “We cannot allow our shipments of assistance to stop while we await further congressional action. We are approximately 10 days from hitting this critical deadline.”
Kustoff said that while he realizes it is a lot of money, he feels Congress is doing the right thing, but does not think this is a “proxy” war with Russia.
He did say that a reason Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to invade Ukraine could go back to the way Biden handled the American withdrawal from Afghanistan, signaling weakness.
“Part of the reason that Russia decided to invade, in my opinion, and a lot of other experts, was the disastrous withdrawal Joe Biden set forth in Afghanistan back in August,” he said. “Nobody could defend the way Biden withdrew our forces and our personnel from Afghanistan,” he said. “It sent a signal to our allies that we were weak.”