Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has invited House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to see the devastation from the Russian invasion firsthand, but the California Republican says he has no plans to go.
Mr. McCarthy, speaking to CNN, accused President Biden of working too slowly to aid Ukraine but repeated his belief that Kyiv cannot get a blank check from U.S. taxpayers.
“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,” Mr. McCarthy said. “I will continue to get my briefings and others, but I don’t have to go to Ukraine or Kyiv to see it.”
Mr. Biden and several U.S. officials and lawmakers have visited Ukraine to see the fallout from the war and where aid dollars could be spent as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion enters a second year.
Mr. McCarthy is contending with a House GOP caucus in which some want to speed aid to Ukraine while others are tired of doling out dollars to the country. The speaker has not supported Rep. Matt Gaetz’s resolution asserting “fatigue” over Ukraine aid but has vowed to scrutinize future aid proposals from Mr. Biden.
“I think that Speaker McCarthy, he never visited Kyiv or Ukraine, and I think it would help him with his position,” Mr. Zelenskyy said. “When the Democrats and Republicans come to us, they see the supply roots — every shell, every bullet, every dollar.”
Mr. Zelenskyy declined to say whether he thinks the House GOP majority will threaten aid, telling CNN he appreciates the bipartisan support.
“I had a meeting with representatives of the Republican Party and I’m thankful to the congressmen who visited Ukraine. They told me that they want to support Ukraine very much, like the Democrats,” he said. “We don’t care about the side of the support as long as it’s powerful and constant.”
Mr. McCarthy previously signaled his intention to visit Taiwan to support its leaders in the face of aggression from Beijing, which considers the island to be a breakaway province.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen decided to visit Mr. McCarthy in California in April instead to avoid destabilizing relations with China any further.