‘Good speech’: McCarthy commends Zelensky but argues against ‘blank check’ to Ukraine

Congress Zelenskyy Washington
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., arrives on the House floor before Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addresses Congress during his first trip outside his country since Russia invaded in February, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) Carolyn Kaster/AP

‘Good speech’: McCarthy commends Zelensky but argues against ‘blank check’ to Ukraine

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Aspiring House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) lauded Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky‘s speech to Congress Wednesday, but affirmed his opposition to giving the war-torn nation a “blank check.”

“I thought it’s a very good speech. He laid out a number of reasons why the free world wants to continue the fight. My position has never changed. I support Ukraine but I never support a blank check,” McCarthy said after the address to the joint session, per CNN.


Before the speech, McCarthy had a discussion with the Ukrainian leader “about where the war is at, what do we need to be able to win,” CNN reported.

McCarthy previously signaled that Republicans will ramp up scrutiny over military aid to Ukraine once they retake the House in January. Many members of his caucus, whom he is trying to court in his tumultuous quest to be speaker, have balked at the dollars going to Ukraine.

“Of course the shadow president has to come to Congress and explain why he needs billions of American’s taxpayer dollars for the 51st state, Ukraine. This is absurd. Put America First!!!,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) tweeted prior to Zelenksy’s speech.


She was reportedly absent from Zelenksy’s address to the joint session and has cited McCarthy’s intent to scrutinize aid to Ukraine as a reason for backing him as speaker. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), another critic of giving Ukraine more aid was also absent.

Some House Republicans declined to stand during portions of Zelenksy’s speech that drew widespread applause from Congress, according to congressional reporters. In one instance, Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) refused to stand despite encouragement from Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Washington Post anchor Leigh Ann Caldwell reported.


During his speech, Zelensky expressed profound gratitude for United States support in the war efforts to stave off a Russian invasion, and he underscored how the investment bolsters international security.

“Against all odds and doom and gloom scenarios, Ukraine didn’t fall,” the Ukrainian president declared. “Your money is not charity. It is an investment in the global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way.”

“We have artillery. Yes, thank you,” he said, referencing the lethal aid the U.S. has supplied. “Is it enough? Honestly, not really,” he quipped to some laughter in the chamber.


Congress is currently mulling over a $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill that features an additional $45 billion in assistance to Ukraine, which would bring the total U.S. support given up to around $100 billion. A torrent of House Republicans has bristled at the package, with some such as Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) singling out the military aid.

“I attended out of respect, not agreement,” Gaetz reportedly told reporters on Capitol Hill after the speech

Zelensky’s speech comes as the Kremlin is seeking to expand its forces and is believed to be gearing up for a massive winter offensive.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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