White House national security spokesman John Kirby denied that there was a “public spat” between the White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) over her decision to go to Taiwan.
In an appearance on Fox News, Kirby emphatically denied that there was a disagreement between Pelosi and the White House and told host Bill Hemmer that the White House has been nothing but “consistent.”
“Well, geez, Bill, I don’t know that there was a public spat with Speaker Pelosi. We’ve been nothing but consistent here at the White House that we respect her decision to go,” he added.
Kirby added that the White House provided Pelosi with a “context analysis” that he said she needed to make her decision as she on Tuesday became the highest-ranking U.S. official to set foot in Taiwan in 25 years.
“But I don’t believe that there was a public spat,” he said.
Kirby pushed back when Hemmer said that it was “pretty obvious” that the White House “tried to talk her out” of going to Taiwan.
“Actually, no, I wouldn’t concede with that,” Kirby said.
He added that the White House gave Pelosi an analysis of what it was going to look like “not just in this one stop but all the stops that she’s making on this important trip.”
“I mean, my goodness, I’ve been saying that for days now. This is her decision to make. Congress is a co-equal, independent branch of government, and members of Congress, including a previous Speaker of the House, have traveled to Taiwan, including this year,” he said.
He added that nothing about this trip was inconsistent with the U.S.’s long-standing approach to both China and supporting Taiwan.
Pelosi’s trip to Asia included scheduled stops in Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan.
For decades, the U.S. has maintained an ambiguous policy in which it promises to support Taiwan, but without committing itself to send troops to defend it if China invades. It has never directly recognized the island’s independence.
President Biden shared the Defense Department’s apprehensions over news that Pelosi was planning to visit Taiwan last month, telling reporters that “the military thinks it’s not a good idea right now.”
Kirby previously said on Monday that the White House had communicated with Pelosi and her staff about the trip.
Source: The Hill