Zelensky Invites McCarthy to Ukraine

March 8, 2023

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has invited House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to visit Ukraine to see “what’s happening here.”

The invite comes amid mixed messages from House Republicans over continuing support for Ukraine’s more-than year-long war against Russian invaders.

“Mr. McCarthy, he has to come here to see how we work, what’s happening here, what war caused us, which people are fighting now, who are fighting now,” Zelensky said in an interview to air Wednesday evening on CNN. “And then after that, make your assumptions.”

McCarthy last year warned that there would be no “blank check” for Ukraine once the Republicans took majority of the House on January 3. “We want to make sure there’s accountability for everybody, the money that is spent.”

Just as Russia’s invasion hit its February 24 one-year mark, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) introduced a resolution in the House to force an audit of the aid that the U.S. has so far sent to Ukraine.

Her resolution followed a bill introduced earlier in February by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and 10 other House Republicans—including Greene. The Ukraine Fatigue Resolution calls to ” suspend all foreign aid for the War in Ukraine and demand that all combatants in this conflict reach a peace agreement immediately.”

Greene and Gaetz were among the roughly dozen House Republicans who had demanded concessions from McCarthy before finally agreeing to vote for his ascension to Speaker after four days and 15 rounds of voting.

Their calls, however, are in contrast to statements from other House leaders.

“The majority of Congress understands that this is crucial,” Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said on February 12, referring to U.S. aid to Ukraine. “We are fighting on the front lines of democracy.”

“We have to educate, where has the money gone,” Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said that same day. “I still believe there are many on both sides of the aisle, a majority of the majorities, in support of this.”

Both former House speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who strongly support continuing aid to Ukraine, have visited Kyiv since Russia invaded. So have several other lawmakers from both sides of the aisle.

“When they come to us,” Zelensky said during his invite to McCarthy, “they see the supply routes, every shell, every bullet, every dollar.”

McCarthy, however, told CNN on Tuesday, “I don’t have to go to Ukraine to understand where there’s a blank check or not.”

According to one estimate, between January 2022 and January 2023 the U.S. has provided a total of more than $77 billion in military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. During the week the war hit its one-year mark, the U.S. donated another roughly $2.5 billion in assistance. 

PHOTO: Kyiv April 4, 2022

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