A day after President Biden received a letter from House progressives pleading with him to rethink his stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the group quickly reversed direction in the face of fierce opposition from Democratic members.
“The Congressional Progressive Caucus hereby withdraws its recent letter to the White House regarding Ukraine,” added Rep. Pramila Jayapal, chair of the caucus, in a report Tuesday.
The change of heart follows angry Democratic MPs’ social media posts explaining why the letter, which was originally written and signed by 30 members this summer but was not disseminated prior of its distribution to the public on Monday.
Representative Sara Jacobs, a Democrat from California, stated on Twitter that she signed the letter in late June but “wouldn’t sign it today.”
“Timing in diplomacy is everything. I signed this letter on June 30, but a lot has changed since then. I wouldn’t sign it today,” Jacobs wrote. “We have to continue supporting Ukraine economically and militarily to give them the leverage they need to end this war.”
The progressive caucus’ former leader, Rep. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin, tweeted that he had “no idea” why the letter had been made public.
The Progressive Caucus claimed that the message was being misinterpreted as being in line with the Republican party’s growing resistance to continuing to provide help to Kyiv.
It was “written months ago,” according to chairwoman Pramila Jayapal, and staff members distributed it before it had been “vetted.”
Prior to the US midterm elections next month, the letter sparked within-party outrage.
30 of Vice President Joe Biden’s Democratic House colleagues signed the letter to the White House in June, and it was made public on Monday.
Its demand that the US engage in direct negotiations with Russia was perceived as undercutting the Biden administration’s frequent claims that Moscow had no interest in diplomacy.
Representatives from the White House responded that dialogue is only feasible when all parties are willing to negotiate, which is not the case at the moment.
In relation to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Massachusetts Democratic congressman Jake Auchincloss criticised the letter as “an olive branch to a war criminal who’s losing his war.”
Ruben Gallego, a different member of the Progressive Caucus, retorted, “Russia doesn’t accept diplomacy, just strength.
“If we want Ukraine to continue as a free and democratic country that it is, we must support their fight.”
Other contributors to the letter comprised Maryland congressman Jamie Raskin, who has assumed the lead in the Democrats’ efforts to investigate former President Donald Trump, and New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a prominent member of the party’s socialist wing.
In a statement on Tuesday denouncing Russia as “a international centre of antifeminist, antigay, and anti-trans hatred,” Mr. Raskin rejected the letter. He praised the Ukrainian armed for recruiting females and “sexual minorities.”