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If Elected, Will Trump Abandon Ukraine?

Never-Trumpers and beltway insiders raise the specter of Trump walking away from the conflict.

Any narrative to defeat former President Donald Trump, whether it be accurate and fact-based or not, appears to be the leftist mantra. Pushed by the Biden team and adopted by pundits, there is prevalent a notion that  Trump will abandon Ukraine if elected. As the combat successes of the Russian invaders taking real estate from Kyiv ebb and flow, Trump’s comments that he could stop the Ukraine-Russia war in 24 hours have fueled speculation that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee will cut and run from further support to Ukraine. However, beyond the commentary of the Fourth Estate, it’s fair to ask whether the former commander-in-chief has demonstrated such an inclination.

Biden Works to Hobble Trump on Ukraine

President Biden’s “as long as it takes” strategy suggests the current administration has no end-game. With that in mind, the president is working on a ten-year assistance agreement with Kyiv. “However, the real and not-so-veiled reason Biden, the man without a strategy, wants to lock in aid is to hobble former President Donald Trump from reducing or eliminating military and financial assistance to Ukraine if Trump is elected in November,” Liberty Nation suggested. There is no historical precedent for this expectation on Biden’s part or anyone else’s.

In fact, the exact opposite is true. During the Trump administration, the policy toward Ukraine – before the war even began – was to provide lethal aid to counter Russian hostilities in the Donetsk and Luhansk areas. The Obama-Biden administration refused to provide lethal weapons. According to a December 2019 Defense News report:

“US President Donald Trump will seek at least another $250 million in security aid for Ukraine in his 2020 budget request to Congress, including lethal Javelin anti-tank weapons, according to a senior Pentagon official…A $39 million sale of 150 anti-tank missiles and two additional missile launchers is pending, on top of the 200 missiles and 37 launchers the US sold Kyiv in 2018, Bloomberg and others reported last month…”

Furthermore, Trump’s opposition to the recent $61 billion Ukraine aid package had more to do with how the deal was crafted than objecting to helping Ukraine in its struggle with Russian invaders. “A key change in the House bill was to make $9.5 billion for economic aid in the form of forgivable loans, not grants, to align with an idea Trump floated months earlier,” The Wall Street Journal explained. The notion shopped around by the Biden administration that former President Trump is against aiding Ukraine is not born out by the evidence.

On the other hand, President Biden, after his first face-to-face summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in June 2021, halted a planned military support bundle to Ukraine. “The Biden White House has temporarily halted a military aid package to Ukraine that would include lethal weapons, a plan originally made in response to aggressive Russian troop movements along Ukraine’s border this spring,” Politico reported. Even as late as December 2021, just a couple of months before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Foreign Policy reported that the White House had not approved military assistance to Kyiv that included Javelin anti-tank missiles, counter-battery radars, communications equipment, and a variety of small arms.

Trump Applied Broad Array of Sanctions on Russia

At that time, Russia had 90,000 fully deployed combat troops on Ukraine’s border. Pushing the narrative that Trump, if elected, would abandon Ukraine seems more like projection, considering the haphazard dribbling out of critical military aid that has been the hallmark of the Biden administration’s behavior. There is, of course, the administration’s persistent harangue that former President Trump would sacrifice Ukraine to rekindle a cozier relationship with Russian President Putin. It is the “collusion” hoax redux; the record of Trump’s actions toward Moscow tells a different story.

NBC News described the rationale for Trump’s sanctions against Russia at the time:

“[Treasury Secretary] Mnuchin cited a number of Russian activities around the world as support for Friday’s US [sanctions], including Moscow’s occupation of Crimea and violence in eastern Ukraine, support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s attacks against civilians, and Russia’s ‘ongoing cyberactivities’ and efforts to ‘interfere in the democratic processes of the United States and its allies.'”

Though the assertion that Trump would throw Ukraine under the bus if elected in November is popular among Biden cohorts, the record does not bear out that notion. The evidence of what Trump’s administration did in supporting Ukraine during his term in office better reflects what to expect if there is a second Trump term. What we know for sure about the Biden administration is the Russian war on Ukraine will be long – as long as it takes.

The views expressed are those of the author and not of any other affiliate.

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