Vseviov: I trust US will keep up Ukraine support under new House speaker

The newly elected U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.).  October 26, 2023.
The newly elected U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.). October 26, 2023. Source: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Scanpix

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Secretary General and U.S. politics expert Jonatan Vseviov said Friday that he trusts the U.S. will maintain its support of Ukraine even after Thursday's election of Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.), a known isolationist, as the new speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

"Support for Ukraine remains to be seen," Vseviov said in an appearance on ETV's "Terevisioon" morning program. "I trust that the U.S. will continue its support of Ukraine under the new speaker as well," he said in response to the host's direct question.

 Vseviov noted that Estonia can be guided by what U.S. powers have confirmed – that its support for Ukraine is unwavering, and will continue for as long as necessary.

"There's hope that the House of Representatives can now handle the Ukraine aid package proposed by President Joe Biden," he added, referring to the House coming to a standstill prior to electing a new speaker.

The top Estonian ministry official, who has done several previous stints in Washington himself, most recently as Estonian ambassador to the U.S. from 2018-2021, said that it isn't worth dwelling on Johnson's prior statements, noting that politics in the U.S. are exceptionally polarized.

"There's no concern that history will end at some point or that we'll manage to hide ourselves away in a corner of the world together with democracy and a market economy," he added.

After several failed votes, the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives elected Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) the new speaker of the House on Thursday, thus also restoring the working capacity of this chamber of the bicameral Congress.

Johnson, deputy whip for House Republicans, had the support of former President Donald Trump as well as of his predecessor as speaker, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R.-Calif.).

On October 3, the 435-seat House of Representatives voted to oust McCarthy as speaker; in the intervening period and until electing a new speaker, the House could not pass any bills or adopt any resolutions.

The election of a new House speaker was of key importance to the U.S.' both domestic and foreign policy, however; critical bills awaiting a vote include a long-term U.S. funding bill as well as a major aid package to Ukraine and Israel.

Hours before the deadline at the end of September, the House passed a 45-day funding bill, avoiding a government shutdown. This funding is set to expire in mid-November, however, should no deal be reached.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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