Lawmakers react to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s address: ‘Moving’
Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla., Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass, react to Zelenskyy’s speech Wednesday, March 16, 2022.
EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Rick Scott, moved by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s address to Congress, said President Biden must give Ukraine everything it needs to defeat Russian President Vladimir Putin – including a possible no-fly zone – and anything less would be “heartless.”
“America has the ability to stop this,” Scott, R-Fla., told Fox News Digital in an exclusive interview on Wednesday. “If we don’t, then we have a president that’s clearly heartless.”
Zelenskyy showed an emotional video to Congress of innocent children and civilians getting shelled by Russia’s unrelenting air campaign. While other members of Congress emerged from the speech unwilling to give Zelenskyy a no-fly zone over concerns of escalating to a World War III, Scott disagreed.
Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., speaks during a news conference about inflation on Capitol Hill on May 26, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
“We’ve got to help them make sure that Russia can’t continue to just indiscriminately just kill these little kids,” Scott said.
He said Biden should give Zelenskyy either all the planes and weapons he desires or a no-fly zone.
“Give them all the equipment they need, which is planes, anti-aircraft defense systems, everything they need, or do a no-fly zone. One or the other. … The White House has the authority to do this. If Biden doesn’t do it, he’s heartless and every day he doesn’t do it there’s more little kids that are dying.”
The Biden administration has ruled out sending troops to Ukraine, sending Polish MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine and rejected Zelenskyy’s previous pleas for a no-fly zone. The concern is escalating the conflict and putting NATO forces in potential combat with Russian forces – kicking off a world war.
Scott said Biden should not be telegraphing what the U.S. will or won’t do.
President Joe Biden addresses and event to celebrate Equal Pay Day in the East Room of the White House on March 15, 2022 in Washington, D.C. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
“The only person that can make a decision whether we use nuclear weapons is Putin,” Scott said. “He’s the only person. We can’t let him dictate what we’re going to do.”
The U.S. with its allies have enacted punishing sanctions, banned Russian oil imports and sent billions of aid to Ukraine. A bill signed into law this week allots $13.6 billion to Ukraine, and Biden is set to announce an additional $800 million in military aid to Ukraine, on top of the $200 million that was announced Saturday.
Other members of Congress don’t want to go as far as Scott, especially after the U.S. just finished its longest war in Afghanistan and want to avoid the prospect of getting involved in another foreign war.
Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., who go into hot water for previously calling Zelenskyy a “thug,” said America must not entangle itself in another war, endanger the lives of American soldiers or let “emotion” guide foreign policy.
Representative Madison Cawthorn, a Republican from North Carolina, speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas, Texas.
(Dylan Hollingsworth/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
“A war with Russia does not further the interests of America or the national security of the United States,” Cawthorn said in a statement first to Fox News Digital. “I do not support neocons both on the left and in my party who clamor for war at every chance they get. The scenes coming from Ukraine are both jarring and heartbreaking. But lurching to war or involving American soldiers in this conflict could lead to identical jarring and heartbreaking scenes with American lives.”
Scott, however, said the United States has an obligation to lead and if the U.S. does not stop the bloodshed now, then Putin will continue his assault beyond Ukraine’s borders.
Scott compared the suffering in Ukraine to the horrors he witnessed closer to home as governor of Florida – mass shootings and law enforcement murders.
“It just breaks my heart,” Scott said of the civilian casualties.
“Time is of the essence,” he added. “How many more pictures of mass graves do we have to see? How many more pictures of little children being killed indiscriminately and families being separated … do we have to see before we show up, and we rally the world to show up?”
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