Determined to propagate strong bipartisan support for Kiev, Kentucky Republican and minority leader Senator Mitch McConnell spent days leading up to the vote to tackle anti-interventionist tension in his party, arguing both privately and publicly with his colleagues that the United States should help a fledgling democracy that stood between Russian aggression and the Western world.

The culmination of that effort came over the weekend, when Mr. McConnell traveled to Kiev, Ukraine, Stockholm and Helsinki, Finland in what he said was, in part, an attempt to alleviate former President Donald J. Trump’s hostility to NATO and to reduce aid. legislation itself. When Mr Trump announced his opposition to the $40 billion package, Mr McConnell said he was concerned he could lose “much more than 11” Republican votes.

The trip was intended “to make clear to Europeans that skepticism about NATO itself, expressed by the previous president, was not the view of Republicans in the Senate,” McConnell said in an interview. “And I also tried to minimize the votes against the package in my own party.”

“We have a kind of isolationist wing,” he continued. “And I think some Trump supporters have some sort of ties to the isolationists — a lot of talk in the primaries about this sort of thing. I thought this would help reduce the number of votes against the package. I think that worked out well.”

Most Republicans considered presidential prospects in 2024 — Texas Senators Ted Cruz, Arkansas Tom Cotton, South Carolina’s Tim Scott and Florida Marco Rubio — supported the legislation, even despite opposition from right-wing organizations.

In a 24-minute speech on the Senate floor, announcing his vote Wednesday night, Mr. Cruz said he had listened carefully to a range of arguments against the relief bill, including that it was too expensive and full of provisions unrelated to military action. had to do with help. , and that it was not in America’s security interest to counter Russia’s campaign when there were so many domestic problems at home.

But he had come to the conclusion, he said, that the help was worth it.

“There’s no question that $40 billion is a big number, and while a lot of that spending is important — in fact, some of it is urgently needed in the military conflict — I would have preferred a significantly smaller and more focused bill,” he said. cruz. said. “But our Ukrainian allies are currently achieving significant victories with the weapons and training we have already given them, and it is in our national interest that they continue to do so.”

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