Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy certainly has many admirers on Capitol Hill on both sides of the aisle, but that admiration is not universal.
Many high-profile GOP lawmakers from both chambers of Congress abstained from attending Zelenskyy’s speech including Congressman Thomas Massie of Kentucky.
According to the New York Post, Massie took to Twitter to tell his followers that though he would be in Washington, he would not be attending.
The Kentucky conservative railed against Zelenskyy’s request for more funds and support.
“It is not charity. Charity would be given freely. The American taxpayers have been conscripted into making welfare payments to this foreign government,” Massie said.
Massie was not alone in his abstention.
NBC news reporter Julie Tsirkin reported the names of other lawmakers not in attendance, including Senators Josh Hawley and Rand Paul.
Matt Gaetz and Lauren Boebert were present in the chamber but were noticeably cold to Zelenskyy’s demands, refusing to applaud the Ukrainian when he took the podium.
Zelenskyy’s pleas come at a time when Congress is considering an additional $45 billion in aid to Ukraine as part of the new $1.7 trillion spending package to fund the government.
According to the BBC, America has sent around $67 billion in financial and military aid to the embattled country since the Russian invasion began in February.
With Republicans set to take over the House of Representatives at the beginning of next year, the U.S. gravy train of funds is in danger of coming to an end as many GOP figures question why this investment is worth it.
Donald Trump Jr. took to Twitter to lambast Zelenskyy on Wednesday, stating that the Ukrainian was “basically an ungrateful international welfare queen.”
Republican leadership also seems to have varying degrees of support.
While expected Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy has expressed more concerns over “blank checks,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell stated that aid was the “number one priority” for his party, as reported by the BBC.
Some conservative figures, like Tucker Carlson, have been even more robust in their distaste for Zelenskyy’s character and actions.
In a February episode of his Fox News show, Carlson stated that Zelenskyy was a “dictator who’s friends with everyone in Washington.”
Carlson supported his description of the Ukraine president by pointing out his authoritarian actions against political opposition.
Zelenskyy’s opponent, the pro-Putin Victor Medvedchuk was arrested and charged with treason in May, and the opposition media was also shuttered by Zelenskyy’s government.
“That’s how a dictatorship operates,” Carlson said.
“It should make you very nervous that Joe Biden, [Director of the US Domestic Policy Council] Susan Rice, and the National Security Advisor kid, they’re all telling us with a straight face … it’s a democracy.”
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