DeSantis hosts a rally in Tampa after primary election


  • DeSantis made the comments in an interview with Fox News' Piers Morgan
  • He also said Putin does not have the 'conventional capability' to realize his ambitions
  • The Florida governor previously dismissed Russia's invasion of Ukraine as a 'territorial dispute'

Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., suggested that China poses a far greater threat to the United States than Russia, adding that Taiwan is more of a "critical interest" to Washington than Ukraine.

DeSantis made the comments in an exclusive interview with Fox Nation's Piers Morgan for "Piers Morgan Uncensored." The interview is set to air Thursday evening.

"And if China did invade Taiwan?" Morgan asked DeSantis at one point in the interview.

"That would be aggression. Absolutely would be aggression. So I would say that Taiwan is a strong ally of the United States. I think that that's a critical interest. I think it's for us, but also for our key allies like Japan and South Korea," DeSantis responded.

"And I think overall, the number one issue that we face internationally is checking the growth and the rise of China. They're much more powerful, I think, than Putin and Russia are, and they really represent the biggest threat that we've seen to our ability to lead since the Soviet Union," he continued.

During the interview, Morgan also asked DeSantis what he thought of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"I think he's got grand ambitions," the Florida governor said, adding, "I think he's hostile to the United States, but I think the thing that we've seen is he doesn't have the conventional capability to realize his ambitions."

DeSantis' interview with Morgan comes a week after he dismissed the Russia-Ukraine war as a "territorial dispute" and said protecting Kyiv is not a vital U.S. interest. This led to widespread backlash, with several Republicans denouncing his stance on the war.

In response, Oleg Nikolenko, spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, invited DeSantis to visit the country so he could see the effects of Russia's invasion and how it could threaten U.S. interests.

Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February last year. Since then, the Russian army has killed 8,317 Ukrainian civilians and wounded 13,892, according to records from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The agency noted that the actual figures are likely higher than reported.

Republican Governor DeSantis holds 2022 U.S. midterm elections night party in Tampa, Florida