OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Former Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole said Monday that the U.S. should send weapons, including tanks, to Ukraine to help it resist Russia’s moves on its territory and to send Russian President Vladimir Putin a strong message.
The 90-year-old Republican Party icon and former U.S. Senate majority leader said Putin “has sort of sized up” Democratic President Barack Obama and “concluded that he’s not a strong leader.”
Dole made his remarks during a reception at the local GOP headquarters in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, the first of 10 homecoming receptions in his native state over three days.
“There are a lot of things we could do. We could give the poor Ukrainians some weapons,” Dole told about 75 people who gathered to meet him and have photos taken with him. “Putin, I think, senses that Obama will not do anything, so he’s got a pretty free hand.”
Dole said he’d also put a missile defense system in Poland. In 2009, Obama scrapped the final phase of a defense system Poland sought, though his administration is now pursuing a smaller, phased-in system that would have missile interceptors deployed in Poland in 2018.