Romney: We Need to Make Sure the World Knows We Stand with Ukraine

Urges for the immediate approval of additional aid to Ukraine, warns of consequences of walking away

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) yesterday joined CNN’s The Source with Kaitlan Collins to warn that walking away from Ukraine would threaten our own security and jeopardize the United States’ role as leader of the free world. Vladimir Putin will not stop at Ukraine—and the invasion of a NATO nation will pull the U.S. into conflict. Furthermore, failure to stand united with our friends and allies would give an opening to authoritarian states like China to emerge as the dominant power—threatening freedom and global stability.

Romney’s exchange with Kaitlan Collins can be found below, and video can be found here.

Kaitlan Collins: Another thing that McConnell acknowledged today when he was announcing that he was stepping down is that he’s out of step with the majority of the Republican Party on national security, with his views on that. How would you define what the foreign policy view of the Republican Party is today?

Senator Romney: I think there are different, you know, avenues of perspective on that. And my own view is that I believe that the majority of our caucus, the other Republican senators, believes that we should play an active role in the world, and that we should defend freedom in places where it’s under attack. I think for instance, if Taiwan were attacked, you’d see the great majority of the Republican senators say we need to help Taiwan, want to give it weapons so it can defend itself.

I believe that if there’s a plain vote just to give weapons to Ukraine, the Republican senators will support that. Some were unhappy with support for the government of Ukraine, didn’t want to vote for the Ukraine funding and that basis.

But I think the majority of our group feels that we are better off in America if we defend the cause of freedom around the world. Otherwise, bad people, terrible authoritarians like Vladimir Putin are going to ultimately attack NATO nations. And we’re going to be required by treaty to send our own soldiers into harms way. Or we can walk away from NATO and blow up an alliance which has helped preserve global peace at least among the major powers for the last 75 or 80 years.

Collins: I was just in Ukraine sitting down with President Zelenskyy. They are deeply worried that your colleagues in the House, Republicans in the House aren’t going to send them anymore aid. That they are going to stand in the way. I mean, what responsibility do you believe Republicans will bear for setbacks on the battlefield for Ukraine if they don’t pass any more aid?

Romney: Well, if we don’t pass aid for Ukraine, then I think Ukraine has a very difficult time preserving their geographic integrity and life—you’re going to have a lot of people who lose their life as Russia runs across Ukraine. And that will make it very clear to people around the world that you really can’t trust America’s word because we made a commitment in 1994 to respect the sovereignty of Ukraine, to help defend the people of Ukraine if they were attacked. And that’s what’s happening. And if we walk away from that, they won’t trust our word.

Europe will say, “Hey, the United States is not with us. We’re not going to be with them if there’s something they want to do in the Pacific,” for instance. “Let them deal with China. Let America deal with China and the issues there.”

So, we’re strong globally in part because of our friends. We have alliances. We always talk about how the Russians and the Chinese don’t have the kinds of friends we have. Well, we have friends in part because we stand together. And if we don’t stand with our friends, we will lose strength and that will ultimately come to hurt us.

Collins: So, you disagree with your colleague, Senator J.D. Vance, who is making the argument that 60 billion more dollars won’t fundamentally change Ukraine’s stance on the battlefield.

Romney: Yeah, that is an interesting point. It just happens to be as accurate as it is irrelevant. All right? It may not change their stance on the battlefield. What it does do is communicate to the entire world that we honor our commitments. And we stand with our friends. And we will help freedom fighters around the world who are our friends and allies.

And that’s a message which is important to the people in Taiwan, to the people in Japan, to the people in India, to the people in Europe. I mean, all of these people are watching to see, “Can you count on America? Or is America so isolationist it doesn’t care what happens to the rest of us?”

If that’s the case, by the way, if we cede leadership, if we’re no longer the leader of the free world, if we’re no longer the arsenal of democracy, then the world is going to look for different leaders. And I know at least one player that’s happy to step into that role, and that’s China. And a world where Xi Jinping is the leader of the world, is a very dangerous world and not good for America, not good for our businesses, for our economy, but certainly not good for our freedom.

Collins: It’s also pretty amazing to hear you just put it in this simple perspective that if House Republicans block more money to Ukraine, lives will be lost in Ukraine as a result of that.

Romney: There’s no question about that. Lives will be lost there and Vladimir Putin will not stop. He may take some time to rebuild his military because it’s been decimated by the ill-considered attack on Ukraine, but he will ultimately go after other nations—in the Baltics, Latvia, Lithuania, potentially Poland, those are possibilities, Georgia. I mean, he will continue. He has indicated he wants to rebuild the Russian Empire, if you will.

And those are NATO nations. We’re obligated under treaty to come to their defense. It would be pennywise and pound foolish to say we’re not going to help Ukraine with weapons when the next step is a place, where under treaty, we would be obligated to help with not just weapons and funds, but blood. And we need to make sure that the world knows we will stand with Ukraine.

I can’t guarantee as, as J.D. Vance indicates, that this is going to mean that Ukraine is successful on the battlefield. But I can guarantee it shows the world that we’ll stand by our friends.

Collins: Do you agree with President Zelenskyy’s analysis that Trump doesn’t really understand Putin because he’s never fought him?

Romney: You know, I don’t know that I can enter into the mind of Donald Trump and understand his perspectives. I think he shows more respect for Vladimir Putin than Vladimir Putin deserves.

Donald Trump has said some strange things like, “Well, okay, Putin has killed some people, but our presidents killed people, too.” It’s like, yeah, but our president don’t kill their political opponents and members of the media, alright? Our presidents may take us to war to protect our freedom and our interests as we understand them. That’s very different than murdering political opponents and murdering members of the media and incarcerating journalists. These are the things Vladimir Putin does, and attacking a sovereign nation, Ukraine, without provocation, and killing tens of thousands of people, kidnapping children.

This is a very bad guy based upon our values, and I think the values that are shared by people throughout the world. And I think it’s fine for a president, and a former president, to talk to leaders of other nations, but be clear-eyed: Vladimir Putin is a very bad person.