WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) today spoke on the Senate floor to urge his colleagues to support sending additional aid to Ukraine, warning of the dire consequences that failing to do so would bring. He argued we cannot stand back and let Putin have his way with Europe—that sending weapons to Ukraine will help discourage further Russian and Chinese invasions, preserve NATO, allow America to remain the leader of the free world, and show that we honor our word to our friends and allies. A full transcript of his remarks can be found below:
The vote we will soon take to provide military weapons for Ukraine is the most important vote we will ever take as United States senators. We are not being asked to send American troops into war, only to help the Ukrainians defend themselves.
If we fail to help Ukraine, Putin will invade a NATO nation. He may delay his next invasion until he re-builds his decimated military. But let’s be clear-eyed: Ukraine is not the end, it is a step.
If we fail to help Ukraine, China will eventually absorb Taiwan.
If we fail to help Ukraine, we will abandon our word and our commitment, proving to our friends a view that America cannot be trusted. The Chinese Communist Party is already spreading propaganda using our delay as a warning to Taiwan that the United States will not be there to help in the face of China’s threat.
If we fail to help Ukraine, NATO, the alliance that has prevented great power conflict for over 75 years, will falter and eventually disintegrate.
If we fail to help Ukraine, America will cease to be the arsenal of democracy. It will cease to be the leader of the free world. We will be replaced by the authoritarians—China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea.
If we fail to help Ukraine, we will be known not as our fathers and mothers were—the greatest generation—but as the worst generation.
Now for months, I have listened to the arguments for denying help to the Ukrainian people. I have observed that the reasons have evolved over time.
First, it was claimed that Europe was not paying its fair share. That was proven incorrect. Our allies have already contributed more than $96 billion in aid—and the EU earlier this month agreed to provide $54 billion more over the next four years.
Next, it was argued that we should instead focus on the Pacific and Taiwan, but Taiwan and Japan and South Korea tell us that the single best thing we can do to dissuade CCP aggression is to support Ukraine.
Next, we were told that we couldn’t afford the $60 billion for Ukraine-related funding. But somehow, we can afford an $850 billion defense budget and annual trillion-dollar deficits, which has happened under both former President Trump and President Biden.
Next, it was claimed that we would have insufficient weapons to defend America and Israel if we sent more weapons to Ukraine. But, the Department of Defense has explained that helping Ukraine will actually strengthen our national security by helping to rebuild our depleted military industrial base.
The latest excuse for denying aid to Ukraine is that this bill is a clever disguise to set up an impeachment of Donald Trump at some point in the future. Under this so-called logic, Trump has to be elected, Democrats have to win the House, and those Democrats would have to have been unable to find any other indiscretion of President Trump’s upon which to base an impeachment.
I know that the shock jocks and online instigators have effectively riled up many in the far reaches of my party. But if your position is being cheered by Vladimir Putin, it’s time to reconsider your position.
Now, I cannot see into the future—and there are no guarantees that Ukraine will defeat Russia. But that does not mean that we should stand back and let Putin have his way with Europe. What sending weapons to Ukraine does do is help discourage further Russian and Chinese invasions which could draw us in, it helps preserve NATO, it allows America to remain the leader of the free world, and it shows that we honor our word to our friends and allies.
Lech Wałęsa, the first democratically-elected president of Poland since 1926 and someone I have been fortunate enough to meet with, recently wrote to all the United States senators. He said this: “You are obliged to assure a peaceful future for your children. Our grandchildren will never forgive us if we fail to stop Russia now. If the U.S. does not lead, nobody will.” I could not agree more. Helping a free people defend their freedom is simply the right thing to do.