Liz Truss-Led Caravan of Losers in Washington to Lobby House GOP on Ukraine Aid
18:01 GMT 30.11.2023 (Updated: 18:09 GMT 30.11.2023)
The former prime minister, who spent 50 days in office before being forced to resign in October 2022, arrived in Washington this week with Tory colleagues to try to convince the GOP’s MAGA wing to reverse its stance on Ukraine funding. But given her sorry record at home, the ex-PM’s chances are anyone’s guess, a leading UK politics expert says.
With less than two weeks left in the current legislative calendar to pass Joe Biden’s new proposed package of aid to Ukraine, the president has called out the big guns to try to lobby conservative Republicans.
Former UK Prime Minister Liz Truss, a well-known "specialist"
on Eastern European affairs, who once confused a pair of two Russian regions for Ukrainian ones, and vowed that London would always support its “Baltic allies across the Black Sea,” arrived in Washington, DC this week to explain to skeptical Republicans why the United States needs to shell out more money for Kiev in its failing proxy war with Moscow.
Biden wants some $61.4 billion in assistance, as part of a $106 billion all-in-one bill which also includes US aid to Israel, funds to stoke tensions with China in Asia, and money to address the crisis at America’s southern border with Mexico.
Truss, who expressed her support for a Republican returning to the White House in 2024 before heading off to Washington, is now in the US capital along with former Tory leaders Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard, as well as lawmaker Jack Lopresti, with the politicians planning to hold about two dozen meeting with conservative, MAGA-supporting lawmakers and think tanks through the week.
“We’ve targeted Trump-leaning or Trump-supporting Republicans to try to get them to think strategically,” Lopresti said of the planned lobbying agenda. “If you want to avoid conflict in the future, you have to have a strong deterrent….It’s cheaper and cleaner and quicker to actually solve it now, send a message,” the lawmaker said, referring to the need to continue to inundate Kiev with cash to fight Russia.
Duncan Smith, who never made it to the prime minister’s office himself, has sought to link Ukraine to China’s purported “threats” against Taiwan, throwing red meat to Republicans with talk of a “new axis of totalitarian states” led by Russia and China that must be stood up to by the “free world.”
30 October 2022, 18:15 GMT
Newly appointed Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson
has criticized attempts to speedily ram through funding bills focusing on an array of disparate issues, but expressed confidence
this week that Congress would be able to push through supplemental funding for both Israel and Ukraine, so long as new aid to Kiev is accompanied by changes to the administration’s border policy.
“Listen, Israel is a top priority for the United States, and supporting our ally there is critical. It’s one of the things we did…It’s been sitting in the Senate and on Chuck Schumer’s desk. And so we’re encouraging him to get that done,” Johnson said, referring to the bill passed by the House earlier this month, which Schumer and the Democrats blocked due to its lack of aid to Ukraine.
“Ukraine is another priority,” the speaker said. “What we’ve said is if there is to be additional assistance to Ukraine – which most members of Congress believe is important –what we have to also work on [is] changing our own border policy. And so there’s been a lot of thoughtful negotiation ongoing with that. I think most of our Senate colleagues recognize that those two things need to move together because we owe that to the American people.”
‘Unmitigated Disaster as Prime Minister’
Alistair Jones, an associate professor specializing in British politics at De Montfort University in Leicester, England, says it’s anyone’s guess whether Truss can advance the Ukraine funding agenda, suggesting her disastrous record at home may be balanced out by her ideological familiarity with Republicans in the US.
“The prime minister of the UK for less than 50 days, [Truss has] basically [been] an unmitigated disaster as a prime minister. But if you look at this delegation as a whole, ideologically, they are free market neoliberals. And that ideological position is actually in line with many of the Trump supporters in the Republican Party,” Jones told Sputnik.
11 February 2022, 13:42 GMT
“The idea here is to point out to the Republicans that if you ‘let Russia get away with this aggression,’ other countries are going to do the same,” the academic said.
“Now the delegation itself, if you were to ask people to identify who the delegates were, most people in the UK would not know, even though three of them, including Liz Truss, are former Conservative Party leaders,” Jones noted.
As for Duncan Smith, he “was actually removed as party leader…without ever fighting a general election. He was replaced by Michael Howard. Now, Lord Howard, who is also in this delegation, heavily lost the 2005 general election in the UK. So all three of these ex-conservative leaders do not exactly have stellar records in leadership, but they are very much committed to this neoliberal agenda, free market economics and support of Ukraine,” the professor summed up.
29 November 2023, 07:44 GMT