Kevin McCarthy Repudiates Russian Reporter, Defends Ukraine Aid

The California Republican scolded his Russian questioner: "I do not support your killing of the children, either."

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) spoke strongly in favor of U.S. aid to Ukraine in response to a Russian reporter’s question during a visit to Israel on Monday.

The reporter said he knew McCarthy didn’t support “unlimited” aid to Ukraine and asked if the U.S. might alter its policy of supporting the country as it fends off a Russian invasion.

“Did he say I don’t support aid to Ukraine? No. I vote for aid for Ukraine,” McCarthy said during a press conference following his address to the Israeli Knesset. “I support aid for Ukraine.”

Some far-right Republicans have criticized U.S. support for Ukraine, arguing it only prolongs the conflict and wastes American dollars. McCarthy made it clear he does not subscribe to that view.

“I do not support what your country has done to Ukraine. I do not support your killing of the children, either,” he told the reporter, according to a video of the exchange. “And I think for one standpoint, you should pull out, and I don’t think it’s right, and we will continue to support because the rest of the world sees it just as it is.”

Russia launched its latest invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, prompting the U.S. and other allies to respond with economic sanctions against Russia. Congress has also appropriated more than $100 billion in economic and military aid to Ukraine.

Some Republicans, including former president Donald Trump, have warned that the assistance risks overly entangling the U.S. in a foreign conflict with Russia. Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) have pushed for an audit of the Ukraine spending.

But Republican leaders such as McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have continued to insist that the U.S. help Ukraine defend itself.

“As my fellow leading Republicans and I have explained, it is not an act of charity for the United States and our NATO allies to help supply the Ukrainian people’s self-defense,” McConnell said in February.

“If [Russian President Vladimir ]Putin were given a green light to destabilize Europe, invading and killing at will, the long-term cost to the United States in both dollars and security risks would be astronomically higher than the minuscule fraction of our GDP that we have invested in Ukraine’s defense thus far.”

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