Zelenskyy Asked For Bipartisan Support In U.S. on Ukraine War – But Didn’t Get It: During an address to a joint meeting of Congress in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appealed to both sides of the aisle in an attempt to win over Republicans.
While the United States federal government’s continued support for Ukraine has support from both parties, Zelenskyy’s call for bipartisanship fell on deaf ears among some of the most hardline elected Republicans.
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“The struggle will define in what world our children and grandchildren will live,” Zelenskyy told Congress, adding that the war “cannot be frozen or postponed” and that the ocean between the United States and Europe will not provide protection.
Zelenskyy added that the world has since become “too interconnected and independent” for the United States not to support Ukraine’s resistance.
After emphasizing his belief that the war in Ukraine has global implications, Zelenskyy told lawmakers that aid from the United States isn’t charity, but an “investment in the global security and democracy.”
Ukraine’s president also called for more weapons and ammunition and insisted that Ukraine has not – and will not – ask for American soldiers to fight in Ukraine instead of his own soldiers.
It was a clear attempt at winning over Republicans who have been critical of the huge sums of money handed over to Ukraine – and of Zelenskyy’s requests for more cash, too – but not all Republicans see it the same way.
Ukraine War: How Some Republicans Responded
Even during Zelenskyy’s historic speech to Congress, many Republicans chose to remain seated while the rest of the chamber stood and applauded him.
Hardline Republican Reps. Lauren Boebert and Matt Gaetz spent much of the speech reading their cell phones and deliberately refusing to pay attention, while others simply refused to stand with everybody else.
Another lawmaker, Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie, chose not to attend at all. In a Twitter post, Massie wrote that he was in D.C. at the time but “will not be attending the speech of the Ukrainian lobbyist.”
Scott Pressler, a popular Republican figure who works independently to register new Republican voters, responded to the tweet with the message, “Not another dime.”
With 1.3 million followers, comments like these don’t go unnoticed – and with thousands of likes, it’s clear that his views are shared by many in the Trump-supporting Republican base.
Donald Trump Jr., the son of former President Donald Trump, also retweeted a news story describing how Zelenskyy was preparing to tell Congress that the $45 billion in aid under consideration by Congress was insufficient.
“Zelensky is basically an ungrateful international welfare queen,” Trump wrote.
While some Republicans believe that Ukraine should receive no further aid, others believe that the aid should continue but that it should also be subject to increased scrutiny and oversight.
“Obviously, there’s concern that the money’s going to the places that it’s intended. Having any taxpayer dollars that go anywhere, whether it’s domestically or abroad, deserves scrutiny,” Republican House Minority Whip Steve Scalise said on Wednesday.
“We expressed an interest in making sure the money is going to be scrutinized. That’s something that we still will keep pushing for.”
With Republicans due to take control of the House of Representatives in mere weeks, funding to Ukraine is likely to continue but may not arrive as quickly – or at the same scale – as it does at present.
Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.