The center's question is directed to counsel for the president. Is it true the Trump administration approved supplying Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine? Is it also true this decision came on the heels of a nearly three year debate in Washington over whether United States should provide lethal defense weapons to counter further Russian aggression in Europe. By comparison, did President Obama refuse to send weapons or other lethal military gear to Ukraine? Was this decision against the advice of his defense secretary and other key military leaders in his administration?
Mr. Chief Justice. Thank you, senators, for the question. Yes, the Trump administration made the decision to provide Javelin anti-tank missiles and there was a significant debate about that for some time. Authorization had been granted by Congress and many of you voted for that statutory authorization during the Obama administration to provide lethal assistance to Ukraine. But the Obama administration decided not to provide that. There was only the Trump administration that made that lethal assistance available. And there was a significant amount of testimony in the House proceedings that President Trump's policy towards Ukraine was actually stronger.
Ambassador Voelker explained that America's policy toward Ukraine has been strengthened under President Trump and that each step along the way in the decisions that got to the Javelin missiles being provided was made by President Trump.
It is something that has substantially strengthened our relationship with Ukraine and strengthen their ability to resist Russian aggression. Ambassador Evanovich said the President Trump's decision to provide lethal weapons meant that our policy actually got stronger over the last three years. And she called it very significant.
In another point to make in relation to this is again, the pause, the temporary pause that took place over the summer is something that the Ukrainian deputy defense minister described as being so short that they didn't even notice it. So President Trump's policies across the board have been stronger than the prior administrations in providing defensive capability, lethal defensive capability to the Ukrainians. And I think that that's significant. The specific part of the question, Senators, whether it was contrary to the advice of the president's defense secretary and others, I believe that that is accurate.
It was against the advice of the secretary defense. It was President Trump's decision to provide this lethal assistance that has been made public in the past. Thank you.
Thank you, counsel.