Several GOP hardliners refused to clap, stand or even attend when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed Congress on Wednesday.
Reps. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo.; Matt Gaetz, R-FL, both refused to clap for Zelenskyy when he entered the floor for his speech, and Andrew Clyde, R-FL, also refused to participate in at least one ovation for the president.
Meanwhile, Rep. Thomas Massie, R-KY, did not even attend the speech, despite being in Washington at the time.
‘I’m in DC but I will not be attending the speech of the Ukrainian lobbyist,’ he wrote on Twitter.
While there were a handful of nay-sayers, the vast majority of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle welcomed Zelenskyy with open arms. Throngs of lawmakers reached out to shake his hand or touch his shoulder as he entered the chamber Wednesday evening.
Nevertheless, the attitudes of Boebert and Gaetz shows a very real divide within the GOP regarding whether and how to proceed with further aid to Ukraine. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is likely to be Speaker after January 3, has argued that the U.S. should not give Ukraine a ‘blank check.’
Sen. Mitch McConnell has stated he is all-in for Ukraine aid, yet another area where he and his counterpart in the House are no longer in alignment.
‘Providing assistance for Ukrainians to defeat the Russians is the No. 1 priority for the United States right now according to most Republicans,’ McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters Tuesday.
Other lawmakers have called for increased scrutiny of where the aid to Ukraine is actually going and how it is being used.
President Biden announced an additional $2 billion in aid for Ukraine on Wednesday, and Congress appears poised to pass an omnibus budget bill that includes a further $45 billion in military aid.