Speaker Kevin McCarthy received unexpected praise from former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after his meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.
Pelosi and McCarthy, the two lawmakers from California, had a strained relationship during Pelosi’s tenure as Speaker and McCarthy’s as minority leader.
But now after Speaker Kevin McCarthy met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California on Wednesday, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi praised him.
“Today’s meeting between President Tsai of Taiwan and Speaker McCarthy is to be commended for its leadership, its bipartisan participation, and its distinguished and historic venue,” Pelosi said in a statement.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy arranged a meeting on Wednesday, which was attended by over a dozen lawmakers, including Reps. Mike Gallagher, Raja Krishnamoorthi, the chair and ranking member of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, and House Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar, where they met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy made history by becoming the highest-ranking elected official in the U.S. to meet with the Taiwanese president on U.S. soil. However, the Chinese government criticized the meeting and warned McCarthy against meeting with the Taiwanese president in person.
Chinese Foreign Affairs spokesperson Mao Ning stated on Tuesday that the meeting between Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen “undermines China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.” Additionally, Li Xiang, the embassy’s liaison to Congress, sent a four-page email on the same day, warning of potential consequences if the meetings took place.
Pelosi’s statement also came after her visit to Taiwan in August of last year, which she made despite warnings from China against undertaking the high-profile trip. In an effort to intimidate visitors, China increased military drills near the island at the time. Despite these tactics, Pelosi succeeded in making the visit.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries also met with Tsai last week during the Taiwanese president’s trip through New York City.
“We had a very productive conversation about the mutual security and economic interests between America and Taiwan. We also discussed our shared commitment to democracy and freedom,” Jeffries stated. “I wish President Tsai a safe return as she transits through California and travels back to Taiwan.”