Ron DeSantis finally speaks of Ukraine attack, blaming Joe Biden
Ron DeSantis. Image via Colin Hackley.

'When Trump was President, they didn't take anything.'

After five days of silence on the matter, Gov. Ron DeSantis finally on Monday expressed a position on Russia’s attack on Ukraine, ridiculing Russia’s effort, extolling Ukrainians, blaming President Joe Biden and praising Donald Trump.

DeSantis said Russian President Vladimir Putin miscalculated what it would take to conquer Ukraine because Putin read too much into what the Governor said was Biden’s appearance of weakness.

After a few days of seeing news of the war — reports the Governor made sure to question because he contends a lot of what the media reports is false — he said he saw the “moxie” of Ukrainian fighters and how the whole world is “kind of coming down.” He offered his assessments Monday at a news conference in Vero Beach.

DeSantis also expressed his belief that Europe and the United States under Biden still have not done enough to dissuade Putin because they have not “hit him where it counts.” That would involve sanctions on Russia’s oil and gas, which DeSantis said haven’t been pursued because Biden has rolled back Trump’s efforts to make America more energy independent.

“This is a guy who basically is an authoritarian gas station attendant — OK? — with some legacy nuclear weapons from the old Soviet Union,” DeSantis said of Putin. “Their whole society is hollowed out except for that energy. Hit him where it counts.”

“The problem with that, with Biden,” DeSantis added, “is he has stepped on the neck of our domestic energy here in the United States.”

He said Biden should bring back the Keystone pipeline, get rid of the ban on oil production on federal lands, and welcome more domestic production, then America would be in a better position to shut off Russia’s pipelines.

DeSantis’ comments came several days after most other major American political figures had expressed unity with the Ukrainian people and condemned Putin and Russia.

DeSantis did not actually call for unity with Ukraine, nor did he condemn Russia for attacking a sovereign democracy, though he did ridicule Putin for making missteps. He said the Russian forces went in “half-heartedly” with a lack of overwhelming force and a lack of daring.

He did not comment on whether Florida might have a response, as Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried had urged the state to divest its assets invested in Russian-controlled entities. Fried is a Democrat looking to challenge DeSantis in the gubernatorial contest this year.

DeSantis also lavished praise on Trump, at least as a comparison to Democrats, saying that Trump prevented aggression from Putin while neither Biden nor President Barack Obama did so.

“The media spent four years saying that Trump was some type of agent of Russia,” DeSantis said. “And yet, when I was in Congress when Obama was President, Obama refused to send weapons to Ukraine. When Trump was President, we sent weapons to Ukraine. Putin didn’t like that very much.

“When Obama was President, Putin took Crimea. When Trump was President, they didn’t take anything. And now Biden’s President and they’re rolling into Ukraine,” DeSantis said.

The Governor said when Biden oversaw a “total catastrophe” with his withdrawal from Afghanistan last August he emboldened Putin and also probably emboldened America’s adversaries in China and Iran.

“The weakness has bred a lot of the disorder that we’re seeing right now,” DeSantis said.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].


  • Tom

    February 28, 2022 at 6:37 pm

    Right on America’s Gov. yes.
    Dems corruption in Ukraine is long and deep.
    Spans 3 POTUS’s, Clinton, Obama, Biden. Ask Hunter too.

    Obama provided Hogan Heroes moth ball blankets, Trump provided javelin missiles which are blowing up Russian army!

    Gov Ron brings balance, knowledge and understanding to domestic. foreign, and defense policy! America’s Gov,

  • Tom

    February 28, 2022 at 7:39 pm

    Hey all you pathetic Manchurians we have a solution for Ukraine.
    Send Hunter Biden to negotiate with Putin and Ukraine comedian President! He’s so knowledgeable bout energy issues in Ukraine.
    $$$ he’s made so much money from Ukraine.

  • Paul

    March 1, 2022 at 12:37 pm

    If only trump was sane enough to beat Biden in an election. Desantis timeline on Russia is ludicrous. Putin wasn’t the least bit afraid of tRump. He prepared to do this for 4 years during the trump regime, and trump was blowing him the entire time. That’s why the Ukrainians were prepared to flee, with trump gladhanding putin. Just another GOP narrative.

    • Rod

      March 1, 2022 at 2:10 pm

      Of course Putin spent 4 years preparing. He was preparing to take the Ukraine as soon as he knew that he could get away with it. Trump was to dangerous to play with. He might have put boots on the Ukraine and made another South Korea Or South Vietnam. He could have shut down Russian oil imports. He also could have made Putin a laughing stock on the world stage like he did with Kim Jong Un. Trust me when I say that Putins ego is larger than than the US nuclear arsenal and being called a fool and ridiculed on the world stage would be worse to him than someone dropping an atomic bomb on Moscow !

      Trump is a calculating asshole and he would have done any or all of those things. But Putin is too and he had had benefit of time and the US Media to take Trump out of power for him. So he waited.

  • Bryan Hill

    March 4, 2022 at 5:59 am

    Do you remember when Trump got impeached for asking Ukraine to spy on Biden. Is this just another example of Trump’s sabotage plan for Putin. There are many examples during Trump’s presidency of Trump helping Russia and praising Putin. It seems that Trump’s wealth is tied to Russian money laundering to begin with. His ‘honeypot’ russian wife won’t hold his tiny hand. How much dirt does Russia have on him to betray the people of this country. I search 2 words every day for the last year “Trump + jail”. I’m so disappointed it takes this long to prosecute the most obvious crime of the century. I believe it was most likely the plan that Putin would invade and Trump would lie to us to let him. Without the russian troll farms of 2016 that put Trump in power. The American people woke up, united, and removed Trump by vote. Enough of us could see the criminal that Trump is, and voted in Biden. The whole world can see just as clearly now, what kind of criminal Putin is.

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