Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) introduced a bill this week that would place a bust of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the House wing of the US Capitol building, an idea that was strongly criticized by more conservative GOP members.
The resolution reads: “Resolved, That the House of Representatives directs the Fine Arts Board to obtain a bust of the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, for display in a suitable, permanent location in the House of Representatives wing of the United States Capitol.”
On Twitter, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) posted a picture of the resolution and wrote: “Absolutely NOT! We serve AMERICA NOT UKRAINE!”
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) wrote on Twitter that he wanted to believe the resolution was “satire” and linked to an article from the conservative advocacy group FreedomWorks giving five reasons to oppose the bust.
The five reasons FreedomWorks listed are:
- Ukraine is NOT the 51st US State
- The US doesn’t own the conflict or is obligated to continue funding it
- Further payments would encourage US taxpayer-funded reconstruction of Ukraine
- Ukraine is corrupt and this conflict is not about “defending democracy”
- Zero oversight of taxpayer aid to Ukraine
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) also ripped the resolution on Twitter. “There is now a House resolution that seeks to put a display of Zelenskyy’s head in the US Capitol. Was the $100+ billion to Ukraine not enough?” he wrote.
While Zelensky mostly received a hero’s welcome when he visited Washington DC and was given many rounds of applause when addressing Congress, only 86 out of 213 House Republicans attended his speech, although some of the absences could be explained by the lawmakers getting a head start on Christmas travel.
For now, GOP leadership is incredibly supportive of arming Ukraine and is critical of President Biden for not sending longer-range and more advanced weapons. But there is opposition to the policy among a small but notable number of Republicans, and that opposition will likely grow as the war drags on.
Some Republicans are against arming Ukraine because they think the US should be flooding Taiwan with weapons instead, a policy that could provoke a similar crisis in the Asia Pacific. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) in December wrote a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken urging the Biden administration to prioritize arming Taiwan over Ukraine.