Speaker Johnson Says He’ll Invite Israel’s Netanyahu to Address Congress

‘I would love to have him come in and address a joint session of Congress,’ Mr. Johnson said. ‘We will certainly extend that invitation.’

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) said on March 21 that he will invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress.

Rumors first began to swirl on March 20 that the Republican house speaker was considering inviting the Israeli leader to address Congress. Asked again about the idea during an interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box program on March 21, Mr. Johnson said such an invite is in the works.

“I would love to have him come in and address a joint session of Congress,” he said. “We will certainly extend that invitation.”

The Louisiana Republican noted that they’re “just trying to work out schedules” to accommodate such an invitation.

The proposal to invite the Israeli prime minister to address Congress comes just days after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) gave a Senate floor speech in which he described Mr. Netanyahu and “radical right-wing Israelis” in his government and the broader Israeli society as major obstacles to a lasting peace between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. During his speech, Mr. Schumer urged Israel to hold new elections and said he believes that a majority of the Israeli public will favor a change in leadership.

Mr. Schumer has faced pushback over his criticisms of Mr. Netanyahu and his calls for new Israeli elections. Immediately following Mr. Schumer’s Senate floor speech, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that “the Jewish state of Israel deserves an ally that acts like one” and that it’s “grotesque and hypocritical for Americans who hyperventilate about foreign interference in our own democracy to call for the removal of the democratically elected leader of Israel.”

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Mr. Johnson has also rebuked Mr. Schumer’s comments, calling them “highly inappropriate.”

Mr. Johnson didn’t explicitly say his efforts to invite Mr. Netanyahu to address Congress are part of a further effort to chastise Mr. Schumer, but he did take the opportunity during the CNBC interview segment to again criticize the Democratic Senate leader.

“What Chuck Schumer did was almost staggering, just unbelievable,” Mr. Johnson said on March 21. “To suggest to our strongest ally in the Middle East, the only stable democracy, that he knows better how to run their democracy is just patently absurd.”

He told Squawk Box that Mr. Schumer’s comments were “outrageous” and a “terrible signal to our allies and our enemies around the world,” noting that he wished the Senate majority leader “would keep his comments to himself.”

Schumer Nixed Netanyahu Meeting With Senate Democrats

Following Mr. Schumer’s comments on the Senate floor last week, Mr. Netanyahu had sought out an opportunity to address U.S. senators.

“Sen. Schumer made it clear that he does not think these discussions should happen in a partisan manner. That’s not helpful to Israel,” a spokesperson for Mr. Schumer’s office said on March 20.

At a separate press engagement on March 20, Mr. Schumer pushed back on Republican criticism of his Israeli election remarks and urged them to not make his disagreements with the Netanyahu government a partisan issue.

“I care deeply about Israel and its long-term future,” said Mr. Schumer, who is the first Jewish Senate majority leader and the highest-ranking elected Jewish official in the U.S. government. “When you make the issue partisan you hurt the cause of helping Israel.”

It’s unclear that Mr. Johnson will be able to put together a joint session for the Israeli prime minister to address Congress without some degree of buy-in from the Democrat-controlled Senate. With regard to Mr. Schumer supporting such a joint session of Congress, Mr. Johnson said, “I guess we’ll find out.”

“I’m the one that extends the invitations to speak in the House and if we just have the House that’s fine, too,” Mr. Johnson said. “But I think a big majority of that Senate would want to come and stand in support of Netanyahu and Israel.”

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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