“Mr. McCarthy, he has to come here to see how we work, what’s happening here…which people are fighting now, who are fighting now. And then after that, make your assumptions,” Zelenskyy said.
The comments come after U.S. President Joe Biden admitted that the United States may no longer be able to send such huge aid packages to Ukraine with the full support of congress, now that the Republicans control the House of Representatives.
Last year, ahead of the midterm elections, McCarthy didn’t promise to end aid to Ukraine but did state that there would be no “blank check.”
“I think people are gonna be sitting in a recession and they’re not going to write a blank check to Ukraine,” he said. “They just won’t do it. It’s not a free blank check.”
Zelenskyy is no doubt looking to prove to Republicans that the level of aid sent under a Democrat-controlled congress is necessary, but his comments – whether purposely worded to sound abrasive or not – may ultimately backfire.
Why Kevin McCarthy Said No
In response to Zelenskyy’s comments, McCarthy said that he doesn’t need to visit Ukraine to know whether or not a blank check is being sent to aid the war.
“Let’s be very clear about what I said: no blank checks, OK? So, from that perspective, I don’t have to go to Ukraine to understand where there’s a blank check or not,” McCarthy told CNN in response, adding that he will continue to receive briefings on the conflict.
In his rejection, McCarthy also doubled down on his promise not to send a “blank check for anything.”
The obvious reason why McCarthy won’t visit Ukraine is that he knows many within his party – including House Republicans who viciously opposed him becoming speaker – oppose funding the war in Ukraine.
For McCarthy to visit Ukraine, the same way President Joe Biden did, would be a huge risk that simply isn’t worth him taking.
And while McCarthy makes a point not to travel to Ukraine, he can continue to negotiate aid packages that continue to support Ukraine’s war effort while showing his GOP colleagues that he is at least willing to demand transparency.
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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.