White House says Ukraine aid ‘will remain strong’ amid fallout from progressive letter

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre
Peter Afriyie
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre addresses reporters during the daily briefing at the White House on Wednesday, October 19, 2022.

The White House on Tuesday said that U.S. support for Ukraine “will remain strong” until the war with Russia is over, comments that come after the Congressional Progressive Caucus withdrew a letter it sent to President Biden on his Ukraine strategy after sparking backlash.

“Our support for Ukraine will remain strong until the end of this war,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, adding that she had no comment on the letter itself.

The letter, which was withdrawn on Tuesday amid blowback over its release on Monday, asked Biden to push harder for peace negotiations with Russia.

Jean-Pierre said that it’s up to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to decide when or if to negotiate with the Russians to end the war.

“Our job, as we see it today, as we’ve seen it for this past year — more than a year — is to make sure that Ukraine has what it needs on the ground as we see this war happening in Ukraine,” Jean-Pierre said. “We’re doing this to strengthen their hand, not just on the battlefield but if they choose, if Ukraine chooses, to negotiate. But, again, that is up to President Zelensky, and he will make that decision for his country.”

Congressional Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), while issuing the unusual backtrack on Tuesday, said in a statement that the letter was “released by staff without vetting.”

Many of the House’s top liberals signed on to the official memo written by Jayapal, who also said it’s been conflated with the GOP opposition and is a distraction at this time. The Hill reported earlier on Tuesday that the letter was written over the summer.

“Because of the timing, our message is being conflated by some as being equivalent to the recent statement by Republican Leader McCarthy threatening an end to aid to Ukraine if Republicans take over,” she said, referring to widely criticized remarks from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in a recent interview that a GOP majority would not give a “blank check” to Ukraine.

Tags Joe Biden Joe Biden Karine Jean-Pierre Kevin McCarthy Pramila Jayapal Pramila Jayapal progressives Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky

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