Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who is currently on a bipartisan congressional trip in Europe, issued a scathing rebuke of President Joe Biden’s visit to Ukraine on Monday, describing the visit as a “strategic failure.”
Issa, a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee who has served in Congress for two decades, made the statement while in neighboring Poland.
“President Biden was right to make his trip to Ukraine. And we recognize the hundreds of American officials who worked long and hard to make this a secure visit,” Issa said. “But while today was a logistical success, it was a strategic failure. Rather than an inspiring mission from a commander in chief, this resembled a VIP drop-by from a global celebrity.”
The president’s secret visit to Ukraine, which, as laid out in a CNN report, took months of planning, became public Monday morning when Biden appeared in social media posts in Kyiv next to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“Unchecked aggression is a threat to all of us,” Biden said in joint remarks while with Zelensky, according to a transcript. Biden noted that “Russia’s aim was to wipe Ukraine off the map. Putin’s war of conquest is failing.”
Biden announced while he was there that the U.S. would give nearly half a billion dollars in additional military aid to Ukraine, telling Zelensky the U.S. would support his country “for as long as it takes.”
Biden’s ongoing and unwavering pledge to fund Ukraine in its current conflict with Russia, which has lasted for roughly a year now, has prompted intense backlash from some on the right, who say the focus on Ukraine — and the more than $100 billion Congress has so far allocated to the country — is evidence of an “America last” agenda.
Issa has taken a more sympathetic approach, conveying an openness to supporting Ukraine but not without a clear endgame.
“Biden offered no new plans and certainly no new clarity of America’s policy going forward,” Issa said.
Issa’s condemnation stands in stark contrast to most Democrats and Republicans like Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who continue to unflinchingly urge funding of the foreign war, which first began in 2014. Graham praised Biden’s visit Monday as “the right signal to send at the right time.”
Issa, while noting that American aid has “made the critical difference in preventing Russia from prevailing in a war that it started,” tore into Biden for failing to offer specifics to justify the continued use of taxpayer dollars.
“The President could have announced how and why America’s policy here would succeed. He didn’t. He could have shown the kind of presidential resolve our adversaries all around the world need to see. That was nowhere to be found,” Issa said.
The California Republican added that Biden “has once again squandered an opportunity to repair his reputation on the global stage.”
Write to Ashley Oliver at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @asholiver.