GOP Leaders Unite Against DeSantis’ Proxy War Comments

Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey, recently took aim at Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for his comments about the potential for a proxy war with China.[0] Christie labeled DeSantis’s warning as “one of the most naïve things I’ve ever heard in my life,” as the U.S. is already in a proxy war with China.[1] Christie admonished donors to “not be fooled by false choices” being pushed by DeSantis and questioned how foreign policy is taught in Tallahassee.

Vice President Mike Pence echoed Christie’s sentiments, telling an outlet that DeSantis’s Ukraine posture was a “function of leadership.”[0] Pence said he had “no illusions about Putin,” adding that “when Russia is on the move, when authoritarian regimes like China are threatening their neighbors, we need to meet that moment with American strength.”[1]

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu was also taken aback by Republican rhetoric, saying he was “absolutely shocked when [he] hear[s] Republicans talk about not defending Ukraine and not ensuring America is strong across the planet.”[1] He went on to criticize those who attempt to “outdo the Democrats at their own game of big government solutions” and said that “you have to be willing to have the fight, but you can’t only be about the fight.”[1]

Christie, Pence, and Sununu’s comments make it clear that the Republican Party is firmly against the notion of a proxy war with China, with Christie and Sununu taking direct aim at DeSantis’s rhetoric. It remains to be seen how DeSantis’s foreign policy views will be received by the GOP.

0. “The war in Ukraine appears to be uniting Trump and DeSantis but polarizing Republican Party leaders” Washington Examiner, 10 Mar. 2023,

1. “‘Don’t Be Fooled’: Why Leading GOPers Are Taking Aim At Both Trump and DeSantis” POLITICO, 10 Mar. 2023,

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