Like many House Republicans, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) is in favor of sending money to Ukraine and Israel — a fact that has many conservative Americans more than a little frustrated — but in his first interview since taking hold of the gavel, he made clear there will be some key strings attached.
Asked by “Hannity” host Sean Hannity how he would handle President Biden’s $105 billion bundled request to fund, among other things, the foreign wars and the U.S. border crisis, Johnson said he would listen to the demands of the American people for “real accountability” for their hard-earned tax dollars.
“I told the staff at the White House today that our consensus among House Republicans is that we need to bifurcate those issues. … The American people are demanding some real accountability for the use of those dollars,” he said.
“We can’t allow Vladimir Putin to prevail in Ukraine, because I don’t believe it would stop there, and it would probably encourage and empower China to perhaps make a move on Taiwan,” he explained. “We have these concerns. We’re not going to abandon them.”
“But we have a responsibility, a stewardship responsibility over the precious treasure of American people, and we have to make sure that the White House is providing the people with some accountability for the dollars, and we want to know what the objective there is. What is the endgame in Ukraine? The White House has not provided that.”
Johnson pointed to “twelve critical questions for the White House to answer as a condition of our supplying the additional support.”
“These are not hard questions, Sean,” he said, adding that he delivered the document to National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan himself.
“We want to be cooperative,” Johnson said. “We need to work together on this. But we owe it to the people to know what the plan is, where the money is going to be spent, and we need some auditing for the dollars that we’ve already sent over there. These are not tough questions.”
Israel, he said, “is a separate matter.”
Israel faces an existential threat daily. They are surrounded by hostile neighbors who don’t acknowledge their right to exist. We are united with our greatest ally. pic.twitter.com/cvzz8YhFk7
— Speaker Mike Johnson (@SpeakerJohnson) October 27, 2023
“We’re going to bring forward a stand-alone Israel funding measure, over $14 billion,” he stated, acknowledging that “Israel’s requested a little less than that by way of the White House.”
Noting that the actual number is $14.5 billion, Johnson said it “is a very specific number tied to very specific measures.”
“Here’s the important thing that distinguishes House Republicans from the other team,” he said. “We’re going to find pay-fors in the budget. We’re not just printing money to send it overseas. We’re going to find the cuts elsewhere.”
On X, conservatives appeared cautiously optimistic.
He’s not just in favor of giving money away. He wants to know where every dollar is going to go and what happened to every dollar that’s already been spent.
This might even screw the Democrats and Rinos if they’ve been money laundering back to themselves.
— Cyclops (@rick_cyclops) October 27, 2023
He sounds reasonable. Let’s see how this plays out
— Donald Jeffery (@DonaldJeffery1) October 27, 2023
Just watched Hannity’s interview of Speaker Johnson. The guy is sharp as a tack, well spoken, and shows no hint that he’s under the spell of the establishment. Very impressive. Time will tell. So far so good.
— Al Tournas ⚓️️♂️⛷ (@altournas) October 27, 2023
Others, however, remain unconvinced.
Meet the new Boss. Same as the old Boss.
— Empire Of Lies (@berningman16) October 27, 2023
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