TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday (July 26) said that he would visit Taiwan if he becomes House speaker after the midterm elections, while Democratic Representative Ro Khanna said Pelosi should "absolutely go."
As speculation continues to swirl around House Speaker Pelosi's potential trip, China has warned of "forceful measures" and "serious consequences" if Pelosi visits Taiwan, while members of the Biden administration have expressed fears of Beijing imposing a no-fly zone over Taiwan or other aggressive measures to interfere with her visit. Amid intimidation tactics from China, a growing chorus of congressmen are calling for Pelosi to go ahead with the trip.
At a Senate Republican leadership news conference Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday said that if Pelosi does not go on the trip, "she's handing China a sort of victory of sorts." In an interview with NBC on Wednesday (July 27), Representative Michael McCaul revealed that although he had been invited to join Pelosi on the trip, he was not able to attend, but he urged other lawmakers to go because canceling "shows political deterrence to President Xi."
When asked on Tuesday by CNN's Wolf Blitzer whether Pelosi should call off the trip, Khanna said that she should not because "We're not going to let the Chinese Communist Party dictate where the Speaker of the House should go." Khanna said that Pelosi should "absolutely go" and speak out about China on human rights issues and the trade deficit with Beijing.
Asked whether Pelosi's trip is worth provoking a military response by China, Khanna said that Beijing should realize that it would be the "worst thing they can do." He asserted that such military action would result in U.S. sanctions that would "cripple their economy" given their dependence on U.S. trade, and he concluded that "We shouldn't allow them to bluff and dictate to America the greatest nation in the world where our Speaker of the House should travel. I mean who are they to say Speaker Pelosi shouldn't go to Taiwan?"
That evening, McCarthy told reporters that Pelosi should go to Taiwan, and he would like to head a congressional delegation to the country, reported The Wall Street Journal. "I'd love to do it as speaker," said McCarthy, who is likely to hold the post as Republicans are expected to regain the House in the 2022 midterm elections.
The last House Speaker to visit Taiwan was also a Republican, Newt Gingrich, who met with former President Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) in 1997.