Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) returned from last weekend's trip to Ukraine motivated to squash what he called a "pretty small group" of isolationist lawmakers who are "somewhat encouraged by the former president."

In a Thursday interview, he revealed a conversation he had with President Joe Biden ahead of the trip, wherein McConnell shared his plans to "push back … against the isolationist sentiment in my own party."

"And [Biden] agreed that that makes sense."


He further explained to Biden that "I want to reinforce with the Europeans after some loose talk during the Trump years about whether NATO is important, that at least at the moment, the most important Republican we currently have in Congress has a different point of view."

In a vote of 86-11, the $40 billion Ukraine aid legislation passed the Senate on Tuesday, with support from the majority of both parties.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), who voted against the bill, tweeted Monday: "Spending $40 billion on Ukraine aid — more than three times what all of Europe has spent combined — is not in America's interests. It neglects priorities at home (the border), allows Europe to freeload, short changes critical interests abroad and comes w/ no meaningful oversight."

"That's not isolationism. That's nationalism. It's about prioritizing American security and American interests," he added.

"So, yes, our national security is threatened, not by Russia's war on Ukraine, but by Congress' war on the American taxpayer," Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) wrote in an op-ed Tuesday.

He further criticized his colleagues' lack of concern over the national debt.

According to Paul, he sympathizes with Ukraine, calling the cause "noble," but explaining that "the Constitution does not sanction or approve of" it.

McConnell explained in the interview that the group of what he called isolationists is small, and he wants to make that clear to NATO allies.

"This is not a major schism. It's a small isolationist group, somewhat encouraged by the former president. But it's not widely held among Republicans in Congress, and I don't think among the public in general," he said in the interview with Politico.

He predicted that even fewer senators would oppose Finland's and Sweden's entrances into NATO.

During the weekend trip, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reportedly gifted McConnell with a camouflage hat that featured "Russian warship, go f*** yourself" written in yellow, in reference to what Ukrainian soldiers said to a Russian warship that threatened them earlier in the war.


Former President Donald Trump did not respond to the Washington Examiner's request for comment.