Former Cranston, Rhode Island, mayor and 2024 GOP presidential candidate Steve Laffey told Newsmax Wednesday that the United States must continue to help Ukraine in its war against Russia, but added that North Atlantic Treaty Organization member countries should increase their contributions to between 5% and 10% of their GDP for protection.
"There won't be a broker for peace for Russia and Ukraine," Laffey said on "The Chris Salcedo Show" Wednesday. "Geographically, Moscow says they have to go towards Ukraine, and even into Poland. That's what they've been doing since Ivan the Terrible. They need that land, and we can't let them have that land."
Laffey said the conflict with Ukraine has shown that Russia is no longer a superpower, but other NATO nations, like Germany, "still pretend" it is so they don't have to spend more on their own defense.
"NATO can't just go to 3% [of GDP in contributions] as [former President Donald] Trump thought they should," he said. "They need to go to 5% to 10%, and America needs to reduce the load on itself because we're going to be concentrating on China."
According to his website, Laffey is running for president to fight "Big Government, career politicians, and the lobbyists who are destroying our country."
"I'm not going to sit here and let them do this to us any longer," he says on the site. "No more debt that crushes our kids' future. No more Communist China taking our jobs. No more stealing our property rights. No more forcing us to buy health insurance. No more taking our guns. No more brainwashing our children. Leave us alone!"
Laffey is joining Trump, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy in the race for the Republican nomination in 2024.
While Democratic President Joe Biden has said he intends to seek another term in 2024, he has not officially announced his candidacy, and only author Marianne Wiliamson is declared on that side of the aisle.
"We have to acknowledge it's not just Russia here, China there, Iran here, Syria there, and Venezuela there," Laffey said Wednesday. "They are all in it together to destroy America. Our foreign policy has to be much more complete."
Laffey also said the U.S. should continue to take a hard line against Russian demands, saying the country has become weaker and more isolated, like North Korea.
"But just saying you can broker a deal with someone like Putin, we shouldn't be saying that," he said. "We should understand the geography of what's happening, as long as we're using old munitions to destroy Russia's ability to create war and make them weaker, they are really becoming North Korea with a lot more land. As long as we're doing it that way we're doing okay, because we have to make sure Russia loses."
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