House Progressives Withdraw Call for Joe Biden to Negotiate End to Ukraine Conflict

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 07: U.S. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) (L), joined by Rep. Pramil
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), withdrew on Tuesday a 30-Democrat letter calling for President Joe Biden to negotiate with Russia to end the conflict in Ukraine.

The group of 30 House progressives, led by Jayapal, issued the letter to ask Biden to take provide a more “proactive diplomatic push” to negotiate the end of the conflict with Russia. The proposal would tie military and financial aid to Ukraine.

“If there is a way to end the war while preserving a free and independent Ukraine, it is America’s responsibility to pursue every diplomatic avenue to support such a solution that is acceptable to the people of Ukraine,” the House leftists wrote in the letter to Biden.

The leftist Democrats cautioned that the only “alternative to diplomacy is protracted war, with both its attendant certainties and catastrophic and unknowable risks.”

As Breitbart News’s Neil Munro reported, the signatories represented many progressive icons, including:

The October 24 letter was signed by progressives who have significant numbers of left-wing anti-war voters in their districts. They include progressive chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Ro Khanna (D-CA), and Mark Pocan (D-WI).

The letter was also signed by all six members of the Democrats’ progressive “Squad”: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Rep Rashida Tlaib, (D-MI), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO).

The letter was also signed by more than 10 members of the Congressional Black Caucus. The signers include Bush, Pressley, Bowman, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) Rep. Yvette Clark (D-NY), Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ), and Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN).

However, after facing swift backlash from House Democrats, even some signatories such as Reps. Mark Pocan (D-WI) Mark Takano (D-CA), and Sara Jacobs (D-CA) appeared to distance themselves from the letter.

Some progressives blamed ill timing for the letter, as the letter was originally drafted on August 1.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), the CPC whip and a signatory of the letter, said, “Once you sign on to a letter, it’s up to the original drafters and unfortunately not all of them will keep folks updated.”

Other signatories and aides blamed the CPC for releasing it as House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has said that Republicans would not provide a “blank check” in aid to Ukraine.

“Amateur hour on part of the CPC not to have anticipated that,” said one lawmaker who signed onto the letter.

“It’s just a disaster. The CPC just needs to clean house,” a Hill staffer said.

Now, as the CPC remains embroiled in confusion and turmoil, Jayapal announced that she withdrew the letter to Biden, blaming CPC staff:

The letter was drafted several months ago, but unfortunately was released by staff without vetting. As Chair of the Caucus, I accept responsibility for this. 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. The proximity of these statements created the unfortunate appearance that Democrats, who have strongly and unanimously supported and voted for every package of military, strategic, and economic assistance to the Ukrainian people, are somehow aligned with Republicans who seek to pull the plug on American support for President Zelensky and the Ukrainian forces.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Every war ends with diplomacy, and this one will too after Ukrainian victory. The letter sent yesterday, although restating that basic principle, has been conflated with GOP opposition to support for the Ukrainians’ just defense of their national sovereignty. As such, it is a distraction at this time and we withdraw the letter.

The letter also follows as an NBC News report found that lawmakers are pursuing a $50 billion Ukraine aid package that would be passed during Congress’s lame-duck session.

Former President Donald Trump has called for peace talks to end the conflict between Russia and Ukraine as a means to the credible risk of nuclear war between the West and Russia.

“We must demand immediate negotiation of a peaceful end to the war in Ukraine. or we will end up in World War III,” Trump said during a rally in Arizona in mid-October.

Trump added, “We will never have had a war like this and that’s all because of stupid people that don’t have a clue. And it’s also because of the kind of weaponry that’s available today. We never had weapons like this, the destructive capability of weapons, modern weapons. I know more about it than anybody because of the fact that I rebuilt our military.”

Trump’s call for diplomacy was mirrored by Admiral Mike Mullen, a former Pentagon chief of staff, who said, “The sooner the better as far as I’m concerned.”

Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.


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