On Ukraine, Trump May Have Just Set Himself Apart From His 2024 Rivals

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Diana Glebova White House Correspondent
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Former President Donald Trump is calling for peace negotiations in Ukraine and claims he could solve the war within “24 hours.” All other potential Republican candidates either want to send more arms or, on the other hand, come well short of calling for Ukraine and Russia to negotiate.

Trump made his latest comments on Ukraine in Saturday’s South Carolina speech. “Even now, despite tremendous loss of lives and destruction of much of that country, I would have a peace deal negotiated within 24 hours. You could make a peace deal, you could make a deal for both, right now, 24 hours,” he said.

Russia’s war on Ukraine will reach its one-year mark on Feb. 24. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has offered to sit down for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but without any “intermediaries” and only if he’s ready for “dialogue.” Putin said he would be “prepared to negotiate some acceptable outcomes with all the participants of this process,” but has not pulled Russian troops out of Ukraine.

Former Trump officials that are likely to run in 2024, including John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, Mike Pence and Nikki Haley, have not proposed Trump’s peace plan, have argued for being tough on Putin and for sending more weapons to Ukraine. Other possible candidates — Ted Cruz, Kristi Noem, Rick Scott, Tim Scott, Glenn Youngkin and Ron DeSantis — have also not endorsed Trump’s policy of a negotiated peace deal. (RELATED: ROUNDUP: How The Top 2024 Republican Contenders View Ukraine)

Bolton, who was Trump’s national security adviser and has strongly hinted at a 2024 run, was the only one bold enough to directly oppose Trump’s negotiated peace deal policy.

“No,” Bolton told the Daily Caller.

KYIV, UKRAINE – MARCH 23: The site of a rocket explosion where a shopping mall used to be on March 23, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine. The rocket hit the shopping mall on March 20, 2022. As Russia’s advance on Kyiv has largely stalled, the Ukrainian capital has continued to be hit by missiles and shellfire. More than three million people have fled Ukraine since Russia launched its large-scale invasion of the country on Feb. 24. (Photo by Anastasia Vlasova/Getty Images)

Pompeo, Trump’s former secretary of state has said the U.S. should continue sending Ukraine “tools” and “resources” to fight Russia, as Ukrainians are fighting a war in America’s interest without having Americans on the ground.

Former Vice President Mike Pence said, “I believe that conservatives must make it clear that Putin must stop and Putin will pay … There can be no room in the conservative movement for apologists to Putin. There is only room in this movement for champions of freedom.”

Former U.N. Ambassador Haley criticized the Biden administration for forcing Zelenskyy to “beg” for aid, while Ukraine is undergoing a “genocide.”

Texas Sen. Cruz pushed for the Biden administration to fund more lethal aid to Ukraine after having a conversation with Zelenskyy in March, and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott has asked the Biden administration to provide aid at a quicker pace. Florida Sen. Rick Scott has advocated for sending lethal aid to Ukraine and tackling domestic issues at the same time.

Govs. Kristi Noem of South Dakota, Glenn Youngkin of Virginia and Ron DeSantis of Florida have been mostly quiet about policies on Ukraine, and have all coalesced around condemning President Joe Biden’s approach. DeSantis pointed to Biden’s “weak” leadership as a reason for why Russia invaded, Noem criticized his foreign policy history and Youngkin called for the president to ramp up his leadership skills to end the war.

The Biden administration has continued to advocate for sending aid to Ukraine for as “long as it takes,” and Biden approved the delivery of 31 Abrams tanks on Wednesday. Zelenskyy and Biden have had multiple conversations since the outbreak of the war, with the Ukrainian president visiting the White House in December. Biden has not spoken with Putin, but has said he would be open to talks if the Russian president wants to “end the war.”