Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, told journalist Piers Morgan he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin is a ‘war criminal.’
DeSantis made his thoughts on Putin known in his exclusive Fox Nation interview with Morgan for his show ‘Piers Morgan Uncensored’ set to hit the airwaves on Wednesday.
‘What is your view of Putin?’ Morgan asked DeSantis in the interview.
‘I think he’s got grand ambitions,’ he said, ‘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. And so, he’s basically a gas station with a bunch of nuclear weapons and one of the things we could be doing better is utilizing our own energy resources in the US.
DeSantis’ dubbing of Putin as a war criminal comes after he rattled establishment Republicans by saying the U.S.’ interest in the Ukraine War isn’t ‘vital.’
‘While the U.S. has many vital national interests… becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them,’ DeSantis told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.
Noting that ‘peace’ should be the objective in the war, the popular Sunshine State governor insisted the U.S. ‘should not provide assistance that could require the deployment of American troops or enable Ukraine to engage in offensive operations beyond its borders,’ adding that providing F-16s and long-range missiles would be ‘off the table.’
DeSantis also noted that American ‘citizens are also entitled to know how the billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars are being utilized in Ukraine’ and knocked regime change policy as being ‘popular among the D.C. foreign policy interventionists,’ suggesting Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s successor ‘would likely be even more ruthless.’
The pair’s interview will cover several topics, including potential 2024 matchups, the Florida governor’s comparison to former President Trump, and the former president’s possible indictment.
‘People have been scathing, they said you’re a housetrained Donald Trump,’ Morgan asked. ‘You’re Diet Coke, he’s full Coke. You’ve heard all this stuff. What are the differences between?’
‘Well I think there’s a few things. I mean obviously you know the approach to covid was different, I mean I would have fired someone like Fauci,’ DeSantis responded. ‘I think that he got way to big for his britches and I think he did a lot of damage.’
‘I also think, just in general, that my approach to leadership, you know I get personnel in the government who have the agenda of the people who share our agenda,’ the GOP governor said. ‘You bring another agenda in, you’re gone. We’re just not going to have that.’
‘The way we run the government I think is, no daily drama, focus on the big picture, and put points on the board, I think that’s something very important,’ DeSantis added.
Morgan also asked DeSantis what his favorite Trump nickname is after the former president began referring to him as ‘Ron DeSanctimonious,’ ‘Meatball Ron,’ and others.
DeSantis became the next in a long line of political opponents to be given nicknames by Trump. The former president famously dubbed President Biden ‘Sleepy Joe,’ Democrat Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren ‘Pocahontas’ after her falsely claimed Native American ancestry, and independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders as ‘Crazy Bernie.’
‘I don’t know how to spell ‘sanctimonious,’’ DeSantis quipped. ‘I don’t really know what it means, but I kinda like it. It’s long, it’s got a lot of vowels. We’ll go with that, that’s fine.’
‘You can call me whatever just as long as you also call me a winner because that’s what we’ve been able to do in Florida,’ the Florida governor continued. ‘Is put a lot of points on the board and really take this state to the next level.’
Morgan also asked DeSantis — who has not officially announced a run for president but told Morgan to ‘stay tuned’ — if he could beat President Biden.
‘Yeah, I think so,’ DeSantis said.
Viers can catch the full interview Thursday at 9pm on Piers Morgan Uncensored on Fox Nation.
Fox News Digital’s Kyle Morris contributed reporting.