ICYMI: Sen. Johnson Joins Senators Lee and Vance, Elon Musk, and David Sacks to Break Down Ukraine Funding On X Spaces

WASHINGTON – On Monday, U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), and Mike Lee (R-Utah) joined Elon Musk and David Sacks in an X Spaces discussion to break down the Ukraine funding bill and unpack why we need to secure our own border before we spend $60 billion to secure Ukraine’s.

“The only way this war ends is in a settlement,” the senator said. “And every day that the war goes on, more Ukrainians, more Russian conscripts die, more civilians die, more of Ukraine gets destroyed. Their lives have to be rebuilt.” 

Listen to the full X Spaces conversation here.


On the need to bring the bloody stalemate to an end

“I think we all have to understand that Vladimir Putin will not lose this war. I state it that way as opposed to Ukraine can't win, Vladimir Putin will not lose. Losing to Vladimir Putin is existential to Vladimir Putin. Russia is four times the population. They have a much larger industrial base. So again, I said ‘Russia can produce 4.5 million of those shells a year. We're not even up to a million a year.’ The average age of a Ukrainian soldier right now is 43 years old. And David, I heard you quote the TIME magazine article, there are other quotes from some of Zelensky’s top aides that say even if the U.S. and its allies come through with all the weapons they have pledged, quote, ‘we don't have the men to use them,’ unquote. So the fact of the matter is, if you're worried about the people of Ukraine, you have to understand that probably about 100,000 of their soldiers have been killed, as have been about 100,000 Russian conscripts, I take no joy in that, 40,000 civilians, hundreds of billions of dollars of Ukraine has been destroyed. The only way this war ends is in a settlement, and every day that the war goes on, more Ukrainians, more Russian conscripts die, more civilians die, more of Ukraine gets destroyed. Their lives have to be rebuilt. So again, sending $60 billion as added fuel to the flames of a bloody stalemate makes no sense whatsoever. As evil a war criminal as Putin is, he's not going to lose this war. And our colleagues here just aren't willing to accept that reality. And they're living in a fantasy world, thinking that Ukraine can win this thing. They can't.”


On how the secret Senate border negotiations resulted in a monstrosity of a bill that does not secure the border

“When we entered this thing, McConnell, his top priority was funding for Ukraine, but public opinion and the very strong political rhetoric that we ought to secure our own border before we spent $60 billion to secure Ukraine’s was effective. And so McConnell finally switched and said, ‘Okay, we got to let Democrats know we’re serious. We’re going to defeat cloture on this bill, and we’re going to demand that border security is going to be attached to funding for Ukraine.’ Then secret negotiations occurred, on an issue that the public supports Republicans on, and we end up with this monstrosity of a bill, it’s an immigration bill, it’s not a border security bill. But, during that time frame, we repeatedly talked about making Ukraine funding contingent on border metrics. Just like performance measurements in business, right? As the border was secured, you’d get $5 billion a month. I mean we had it all laid out. Had a proposal. It had a great deal of support in our conference, but what [Senator Lee] Mike pointed out, is unbeknownst to us at the time, McConnell told Lankford, ‘That’s not even on the table.’ He, using his own authority, without telling the conference, even though he knew the conference supported tying Ukraine funding to actually securing the border, McConnell just took that off the table. And that moment of leverage we had, where we could use Biden’s desire for Ukraine funding, to actually force him to use his executive authority to secure the border has been lost. And that is why so many of us are speaking out against McConnell, it was such a breach of his leadership position and is such a horrible thing to do to Americans who want a secure border, but that’s where we’re at.”


On the deadly history of U.S. foreign entanglements

“My final point here too, is retrospectively going back and taking a look at all these foreign entanglements; 58,000 Americans dead in Vietnam, because the domino effect. Right. If you don't stop them there, they're going to take over the world. 58,000 Americans died. I was just recently in Hanoi, what wonderful people. We never should have bombed Vietnam. What came of Afghanistan? Of Iraq? Once again, the proxy war is destroying Ukraine. This isn't for the benefit of the Ukrainian people. They are being destroyed in this process. So we as Americans, listen, we are the good guys. I have no doubt about that. But we are far from perfect. And what we don't do, we don't do oversight, but we don't retrospectively take a look at what our actions actually resulted in because we really don't want to own up to the reality of that situation.”


On the need for House Republicans to stand strong in stopping the foreign aid package

“Now the action [H.R. 815] moves to the House, and I've been talking to the Speaker and to Chairman Jordan, we need the House to step up to the plate and say that, no, you're not going to get any funding for Ukraine until we secure our border. They've got to stand strong. And most of public pressure has to be directed toward the House… 

“What needs to happen is we need all the listeners on this spaces exchange here to contact their House members and make sure this thing stops… I certainly want to thank J [Senator Vance] and Mike [Senator Lee]. They've been tireless being down there on the floor of the Senate trying to stop this. But in the end, it's we the people. It's going to take public pressure. I'm afraid it's too late here in the Senate to get through to these 17, 18 Republicans that are joining with the Democrats to prolong this war. But I think we can get to the House, get them to stop this, and insist on securing our border.”