Speaker McCarthy, Who Promised Voters No Blank Check on Ukraine, Voices Support For War Effort: ‘We Have to Win’
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who promised America First voters that he would not back a ‘blank check’ for the war effort in Ukraine, voiced support for the Biden administration’s policies in the region and insisted “we” must win.
McCarthy’s comments came last week as he spoke to reporters at a meeting with the President of Taiwan. They resurfaced when MSNBC’s Chuck Todd played them during an interview with House Foreign Affairs Chairman Mike McCaul (R-TX).
Todd characterized the comments as a “shift” in the “perception of where [McCarthy] is on the issue of Ukraine.”
“I think what’s happening in Ukraine is an atrocity, and I think Ukraine – not just Ukraine, the world has to win there,” McCarthy said before referencing his ‘blank check’ comments.
“What Russia has done is wrong. And a phrase that I used, the ‘blank check,’ I use that for anything. Well, I look at every dollar of taxpayers that we would use,” he insisted. “But the one thing I know that, in Ukraine, we have to win, because it also would save Taiwan at the same time.”
Anyone who voted for Republicans in the midterms on the assumption that they’d bring some sort of “non-interventionist” policy shift in Ukraine was either deluding themselves or got scammed pic.twitter.com/8Kce9wUix4
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) April 10, 2023
Did McCarthy Flip on His Ukraine Stance Before the Election?
MSNBC’s Chuck Todd questioned McCaul about the comments and wondered if McCarthy (R-CA) had “reassured” Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that House Republicans “are not going to stand in the way of more aid to Ukraine.”
McCaul replied that McCarthy’s new comments on the Ukraine war effort are always how he’s felt on the matter.
“He’s always believed this, felt this way,” the Texas representative said.
“What’s happening in Ukraine will determine what happens in Taiwan and the Pacific,” he added, echoing the Speaker’s sentiments.
Notice McCaul says McCarthy “always” had this position on Ukraine, despite the furious media outburst over his meaningless “blank check” comment last year, and despite the concomitant wish-casting by some GOP-aligned pundits that his comment indicated opposition to Ukraine policy
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) April 10, 2023
It hasn’t always been what McCarthy believed. At least, not according to his own words.
In fact, The Political Insider warned readers in January, in the midst of the struggle for Republicans to name a Speaker to the House, that McCarthy’s comments about ‘no blank check’ to Ukraine were a ruse and evidence that he “may not be worthy” of getting the role.
McCarthy announced prior to the midterm elections that when the GOP takes control of the House, Ukraine would no longer be the benefactor of a “blank check” from the United States government.
“I think people are gonna be sitting in a recession and they’re not going to write a blank check to Ukraine,” McCarthy said. “They just won’t do it. … It’s not a free blank check.”
— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) October 26, 2022
‘Full-Scale Support’ For Biden’s Ukraine War
Republican lawmakers at the time backpedaled and McCarthy didn’t step in to say, ‘No, I said what I meant.’ In fact, reports surfaced that he had been trying to “smooth over” the comment.
The Political Insider declared this was evidence McCarthy “was talking out of both sides of his mouth” and perhaps unfit for the Speakership.
Journalist Glenn Greenwald on Monday blasted McCarthy over his recalibrated stance, which he describes as pledging his “full-scale support for Biden’s war policies in Ukraine.”
“Prior to the 2022 midterms, McCarthy saw polling data showing Americans were increasingly reluctant to fund the proxy war in Ukraine, so sent signals he agreed, saying he opposes a ‘blank check,'” Greenwald tweeted. “Now he’s basically saying: Oh that? That meant nothing.”
GOP House Speaker Kevin McCarthy pledges his full-scale support for Biden’s war policies in Ukraine, says “we” must win there. Some more sweet bipartisanship:pic.twitter.com/GOH9gS2Iqo
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) April 10, 2023
Public opinion suggests the American people are growing weary of financing Ukraine’s war effort.
A recent poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows just 37% are in favor of sending taxpayer dollars to Ukraine, while 38% are opposed. Another 23% say they are neither in favor or opposed.
Republican support for America having a role in the Ukraine-Russia conflict had dropped from 35% the previous year to 17%.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell responded by saying that while he’s “sorry public opinion is sliding,” the war effort in Ukraine and America’s continued support is “enormously important.”
How important? “The single most important event going on in the world right now,” says McConnell.
Now, McCarthy is echoing those sentiments by saying, “We have to win.”
Does he sound closer to McConnell in his thinking or the staunch anti-war, America First conservative he sold you on while trying to earn the Speaker’s gavel?
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