July 21, 2024
Loans

U.S. Aid Should Be ‘Loans’


Former President Donald Trump slammed the Senate’s foreign aid package at a campaign event in Conway, South Carolina, on Saturday, saying that aid should be given in “loans.”

“They want to give like almost $100 billion to a few countries,” the former president said. “I said why do we do this? If you do, you give them not $100 billion, you give it to them as a loan.”

The Context:

The Senate advanced a $95.34 billion foreign funding deal to debate in a 67 to 32 procedural vote on Thursday. The package includes $61 billion for Ukraine in its ongoing war with Russia, $14 billion for Israel as it fights Hamas in Gaza, and $4.83 billion to help America’s allies in the Indo-Pacific region, which includes Taiwan. The deal will also give $9.15 billion in humanitarian aid to conflict zones like Gaza, the West Bank and Ukraine.

What We Know:

Trump, the GOP frontrunner in the 2024 presidential election, posted to his social media platform, Truth Social, on Saturday, taking aim at the Senate.

“From this point forward, are you listening U.S. Senate(?), No money in the form of foreign aid should be given to any country unless it is done as a loan, not just a giveaway,” he wrote.

Later on at his South Carolina rally, he said, “Give them the money and if they can pay it back, they pay it back. If they can’t pay it back, they don’t have to pay it back because they got some problems, but if they go to another nation, they drop us like a dog…if that happens to our country, then very simply we call the loan and we say we want our money because we give money and then they go to another side.”

Newsweek reached out to Trump’s campaign via email for comment.

Trump
President Donald Trump speaks during a “Get Out The Vote” rally at Coastal Carolina University on Saturday in Conway, South Carolina. Trump slammed the Senate’s foreign aid package at a campaign event, saying that aid…


Win McNamee/Getty Images

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Support for funding Ukraine has dwindled among Republicans in Congress. Before the Senate voted to advance the foreign aid package, a different deal, which would’ve also given $20 billion to securing the U.S.-Mexico border and enacted changes to America’s immigration system, failed to advance in the Senate.

Senator Mike Lee, a Utah Republican, commented on the funding for Ukraine in the initial border deal and foreign aid package, writing on X, formerly Twitter last Sunday, “Fun fact, the U.S. Marine Corps budget in FY23 was $53.8 billion. This bill would give Ukraine more than $60 billion.”

Meanwhile Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, have been pushing for Ukraine aid and other foreign funding for months.

Schumer said on the Senate floor after the new foreign aid package was advanced on Thursday, “Failure to pass this bill would only embolden autocrats like Putin and Xi who want nothing more than America’s decline.”

What’s Next?

Now that the foreign aid deal is advanced to debate, the Senate will need to work towards passing the package.

Schumer told the Senate floor Thursday, “Now that we are on the bill, we hope to reach an agreement with our Republican colleagues on amendments. Democrats have always been clear that we support having a fair and reasonable amendment process.”

Meanwhile, Trump is campaigning for the South Carolina Republican primary election on February 24. He will go up against former South Carolina governor and ex-United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley.

Update 2/10/24, 4:29 p.m. ET: This article has been updated with additional information.