Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz claimed Tuesday night that President Biden’s foreign policy was “paint by numbers” and that his support of Ukraine was “sleepwalking” the United States into “World War III.”
“I don’t quite know yet what the Biden doctrine is, but I get the sense that it probably has a half-life at this point because he’s sleepwalking us into World War III,” Gaetz said in an interview with Newsmax. “Let’s talk about what’s actually going on at NATO right now. The $115 billion we sent Ukraine was not enough, so now they are talking about giving Ukraine Israel-like security status, so we have to pay to be the block captain of Ukraine forever.”
The Florida Republican also pointed to comments made by a pair of his Democratic colleagues, Reps. Seth Moulton, D-Wash., and Steny Hoyer, D-Mary., who said the U.S. is already “at war with Russia.”
“I think one can reasonably ask the question, ‘Has NATO expansion made us safer?’ Has it really? Are we safer today than we were before NATO expanded into the Baltics and put us now on the brink of war?” Gaetz asked.
Gaetz’s comments come as world leaders are meeting Wednesday for the second day of a two-day summit held in Vilnius, Lithuania.
At the center of the discussion is the prospect of adding Ukraine to the international alliance, a move some critics say could provoke further aggression from Russia.
President Biden is among those critics, who said Tuesday that Ukraine was not ready to join NATO. He cited issues within Ukraine’s government as well as its ongoing war with Russia. During a separate event at NATO, the U.S. president emphasized Article 5 of NATO’s founding policy, which necessitates NATO allies to rally to defend a member-country that suffers a military invasion.
Supporters say Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is evidence the Eastern European country needs international assistance, including military supplies and a seat at the table in NATO.
NATO leaders announced Tuesday a plan to add Ukraine into a new NATO-Ukraine Council that would allow consultation and coordination but would not formally accept Ukraine into NATO.
The international body did, however, offer “conditions” that Ukraine could meet to eventually warrant a pathway to membership.
The conditions drew criticism from both Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the Kremlin.
“It’s unprecedented and absurd when [a] time frame is not set neither for the invitation nor for Ukraine’s membership. While at the same time vague wording about ‘conditions’ is added even for inviting Ukraine,” Zelenskyy said in a lengthy tweet Tuesday morning. He also said NATO was disrespecting his country and was subsequently “motivating” Russia in the process.
Moscow, in response, said Wednesday that security guarantees for Ukraine “encroach on the security of the Russian Federation.”
“By providing any kind of security guarantees to Ukraine, these countries are actually ignoring the international principle of the indivisibility of security. That is, by providing security guarantees to Ukraine, they encroach on the security of the Russian Federation,” Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, according to the state-sponsored news agency RIA Novosti.
The action could prompt “very, very negative consequences,” he said.
U.S. officials previously approved about $113 billion, divided into four rounds of funding, to aid Ukraine in fending off Russia.
The Biden administration recently announced it would also be providing cluster munitions to Ukraine and an additional $800 million in military aid, two U.S. officials confirm to Fox News.