‘Stop World War 3’: John Cornyn Says He’d Push For More Ukraine Aid As Senate GOP Leader

Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, a candidate in the race to succeed Mitch McConnell as the Senate Republican Conference’s leader, told the Daily Caller News Foundation on Thursday that he would support more aid to Ukraine if elected as leader.

Cornyn announced his candidacy on Thursday following remarks by McConnell on the Senate floor Wednesday announcing he would retire from his position in November following the 2024 general election. Cornyn indicated that he would largely continue McConnell’s posture on aid to Ukraine, which many detractors in the conference have adamantly opposed.

“I think we need to stop World War Three. And I think that Putin will not stop at Ukraine if he’s successful, so it’s in our national security interest,” Cornyn said when asked if he’d support more funding for Ukraine, a position that he previously supported under McConnell’s leadership. The conference’s support for Democratic-led efforts to pass bills aiding Ukraine, without border security measures, have been strongly opposed by Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Rick Scott of Florida, among others.

 

On border security, Cornyn told the DCNF that he wanted to pass H.R. 2, the “Secure the Border Act,” which was passed by the House of Representatives in May 2023 but has been opposed by Senate Democrats, preventing it from receiving a vote. “I hope that Speaker Johnson can add that to the supplemental and send it back over here to the Senate,” Cornyn said, referring to the Senate’s bill to authorize aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan that was passed on Feb. 13.

Cornyn noted that he had spoken with former President Donald Trump, the leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, about his candidacy on Wednesday. “I just basically gave him information and he appreciated it. I told him that for four years when I was the Whip that we worked very well together, and I said that I look forward to working with you again.”

Multiple reports indicate that Trump is encouraging Republican Sen. Steve Daines of Montana, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) to run for the leadership.

Cornyn would not say how many senators currently support his campaign. “Haha. We’re just still with the…I think most people are trying to figure out…I’m having conversations, phone calls and meeting with senators and just picking their brains seeing what they, what they think and what they want.”

Cornyn’s colleagues, meanwhile, have not announced whether they will support him. At least one Republican senator, Mike Braun of Indiana, who is retiring from the Senate to run for governor, said that he would support Scott for the leadership if he decided to run.

“We’ll go through the process to see what our mission is, that’s what we should do first,” Scott told the DCNF on Friday when asked if he would run.

Another potential candidate, Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, who succeeded Cornyn as the Republican whip in 2021, told the DCNF on Thursday that Cornyn’s candidacy was among the “worst kept secrets in Washington right now.”

“I’m having lots of conversations with our colleagues. And so, to get insight and input from them about, you know, where they see the future headed and what they want out of the next Senate Republican leader,” Thune noted. He added that he had “not talked about the race” with Trump.

Arjun Singh on February 29, 2024


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