Several candidates in the Tennessee 5th Congressional District GOP primary have announced their public opposition to the recently approved aid package to Ukraine.
In addition to former Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell and Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles, candidates General Kurt Winstead, Jeff Beierlein, and Tres Wittum have come out against the $40 billion Ukraine aid package.
Harwell was the first to criticize the package publicly. She said on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy that she would have voted no on the $40 billion package.
“I’m supportive of Ukraine and how hard they’re fighting, and I want to send them support. But I just understand we also have a lot of things where we need to put America first,” she said.
The Tennessee Star previously reported that Ogles came out against the $40 billion.
“We need to fix what’s happening here at America first. We need to be taking our own problems seriously as a nation before we dump $40 billion into protecting the sovereignty of another nation,” he said.
Winstead, in a statement provided to The Star, said he would have voted no as well.
“The United States has made significant contributions already to Ukraine’s fight against Russia, and I support the Ukrainian’s success,” Winstead said. “Before we spend an additional $40 billion, we need to focus on the crises in our own country like our southern border, stopping runaway inflation, and reducing gas prices. America’s kids can’t even get baby formula. I would vote no.”
Tennessee State Senate aide Tres Wittum told The Star, “I definitely would have voted no.”
“$40 billion is nearly the state of Tennessee’s entire budget. The situation in Ukraine changes daily and we aren’t certain what is actually happening. However, I am certain that Congress is spending money that hasn’t even been printed yet,” he continued. “This $40 billion is simply more inflationary spending.”
“My heart is with hurting and innocent people in Ukraine. I encourage faith-based organizations to continue to do the Lord’s work and reach out to help these victims,” he said.
“It is our government’s job to direct funds that help our people here at home, and they’re hurting, too. We have to have a healthy and safe economy here at home if we want to remain a beacon of hope and freedom for others around the globe,” concluded Wittum.
Jeff Beierlein gave a lengthy statement to The Star explaining his reasons for being against the Ukraine aid package.
“I am in full support of the U.S. providing limited military aid and humanitarian relief to Ukraine; however, I do not support this amount and the process by which this was jammed through without sufficient review,” he said. “I would not support $40 billion, while we have an economic debacle with almost 9 percent inflation (among the worst in all Westernized countries), record-high fuel prices which we caused, supply chain issues, and a southern border that does not exist.”
“This $40 billion spend, which will go through, contributed to our phenomenal debt situation, lacks the appropriate oversight, clear objectives, and is ill-timed for the people of Tennessee and America. Furthermore, we will be spending four-to-five times the combined contribution of all other counties, while our financial situation is worse,” he continued. “This is completely inappropriate and underscores that the Democrat-controlled federal government lacks real understanding the American First priority.”
“I would propose that we support not more than the rest of NATO, as this is a European issue more so than an American issue, but it is clearly a tool to distract from the disasters at home right now,” said Beierlein.
“We need to expect more from our elected officials, and this is not consistent with what conservatives and American First patriots should expect from us. I wish President Biden and the Democrats in Congress loved America as much as they do Ukraine, now that things are rough at home,” he concluded.
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Aaron Gulbransen is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow Aaron on GETTR, Twitter, and Parler.
Photo “Andy Ogles (Left)” by Andy Ogles. Photo “Tres Wittum (Second to Left)” by Tres Wittum. Photo “Jeff Beierlein (Center)” by Jeff Beierlein. Photo “Kurt Winstead (Second to Right) by Kurt Winstead.