House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) invited Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, to accompany her on a trip to Taiwan, according to a spokesperson.
“Rep. McCaul was invited but is unable to attend due to a prior commitment. He also believes the Speaker or any other American official should be able to visit Taiwan if they would like to,” McCaul aide Leslie Shedd told Breitbart News.
Although Pelosi has not publicly confirmed she is going to Taiwan, the invite indicated that she intended to proceed with her trip, at least at the time it was sent.
The invite came “a few weeks ago,” according to a House aide.
Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, was also invited, according to NBC News. His office did not confirm the invite.
Neither Pelosi nor her office has not publicly confirmed that she will take the trip, which was first reported by the Financial Times last week.
The trip puts the Biden administration in an awkward position. President Joe Biden told reporters that the U.S. military did not think it was a good idea for the speaker to go.
China has threatened consequences, and the U.S. military is reportedly concerned about a potential military showdown with Pelosi’s plane as she flies to Taiwan, which Beijing considers a breakaway province and not a separate country.
Pelosi’s trip was first scheduled to take place in April, but it was postponed due to her reportedly contracting coronavirus. The trip would take place as China has stepped up its intimidation of Taiwan by flying military sorties around the island and claiming sovereignty over the Taiwan Strait — which the U.S. Navy occasionally sails through.
It also takes place as American and Taiwanese leadership worry that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has emboldened China to invade Taiwan. The U.S. does not formally recognize Taiwan as a separate country but maintains a robust informal relationship with its government and provides defense support to its military.
If Pelosi backs down from traveling to Taiwan, it could further embolden Beijing, and Republicans are publicly urging her to take the trip as planned.
The trip could provide positive PR at a much-needed time for Pelosi, who is under increasing scrutiny for her husband’s stock market moves that appear well-timed with congressional actions despite denials that either have profited from inside information.
Just recently, Paul Pelosi purchased over $1 million in computer chip maker Nvidia shares as the House passed a bill to bolster U.S. semiconductor production.