Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy said Thursday that he had rejected Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s request to address a joint session of Congress.
Zelenskyy, who addressed the United Nations on Tuesday and is in Washington, D.C., to meet with President Joe Biden and U.S. lawmakers, asked to speak before both chambers of Congress, a request McCarthy declined.
“President Zelenskyy asked for a joint session. We just didn’t have time. He’s already given a joint session [address],” McCarthy said, referring to Zelenskyy’s previous visit to the U.S. in Dec. 2022. “So what we’re doing for Zelenskyy is exactly the same thing we did for the prime minister of the U.K., the prime minister of Italy. We’ll put the bipartisan group of members together to meet with him, no different than we did with anybody else. And this is a little busy week. We’re dealing with the funding issue. I don’t know how we could slip that in in such a short time.”
Zelenskyy met with McCarthy earlier Thursday morning and with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Politico reported that an all-senators meeting with the Zelenskyy was scheduled for 10:00 a.m. Thursday.
Before McCarthy’s meeting with Zelenskyy, he told reporters he wanted to see whether the Ukrainian president had a strategy to win.
“I think a lot of people have the question … what’s the strategy to win? Accountability — they want to make sure the resources are going to the right place,” McCarthy told reporters Wednesday.
Other GOP lawmakers have been vocal about their opposition to giving further aid to Ukraine, with more than two dozen signing a letter demanding further transparency about the situation on the battlefield and how the funds are being used.
(This is a developing story. More information will be added as it becomes available.)