Right-wing critics have berated Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky for wearing combat gear during a historic visit to the White House and Congress, where he made an impassioned plea for more funding to aid Kyiv’s defense effort.
Commentator Tucker Carlson led the swipes at Zelensky, using his late night show on Fox News to accuse the Ukrainian leader of dressing like the ‘manager of a strip club demanding money’ amid the United States’ own border woes.
Joining the criticism was Donald Trump Jr., son of former president Donald Trump, who called Zelensky a ‘welfare queen’ on Wednesday morning.
In his first foreign visit since Russia invaded his country in February, Zelensky showed up to the White House wearing a casual outfit – including a camouflage colored sweatshirt, similar colored pants and combat boots – in contrast to US president Joe Biden, who was wearing a suit.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky showed up to the White House wearing combat gear including a camouflage colored sweatshirt, similar colored pants and combat boots, a stark contrast to United States President Joe Biden who wore a blue suit
Tucker Carlson took a swipe at the Ukrainian president during his late night show, berating Zelensky for dressing like the ‘manager of a strip club demanding money’ during his visit
Zelensky followed up his meeting with Biden with a speech to Congress during which he made a plea for another round of defensive weapons funding.
Wendell Husebo, writer for the conservative news website Breitbart, also chimed in.
‘Zelensky arrives at the White House to demand more support than $45B aid in the omnibus bill,’ tweeted Husebo. ‘For $45B, show some respect and rent a suit.’
Other Breitbart employees also got involved, with its politics editor Emma-Jo Morris writing: ‘Zelensky flies all the way to the US, but still can’t put on a suit.’
Benny Johnson, a host on right-wing news channel Newsmax, tweeted: ‘This ungrateful piece of s*** does not have the decency to wear a suit to the White House – no respect the country that is funding his survival.
‘Track suit wearing eastern european con-man mafia. Our leaders fell for it. They have disgraced us all. What an incredible insult,’ he said. Replies to his tweet were roundly critical of his reaction, with some accusing him of being pro-Moscow.
‘Might be the worst tweet I’ve ever seen on this website,’ one person replied.
Financial commentator Peter Schiff also got involved, writing: ‘I know there’s a war, but #Zelensky isn’t under fire. He flew to the U.S. aboard a U.S. government private jet, arrived at the White House in a Chauffeur Driven SUV, yet showed up wearing a sweatshirt. It’s better than a t-shirt, but I still maintain the proper attire is a suit.’
Carlson’s Fox News colleague John Roberts said during a broadcast that he’d never seen someone turn up to the White House in clothes like Zelensky was wearing.
Britain’s wartime leader Winston Churchill visited the White House in 1941 – almost 71 years ago to the day of Zelensky’s visit – wearing a military jumpsuit, although he later addressed Congress in a suit. He famously stayed at the White House for two weeks.
Rick Wilson, Republican strategist and Lincoln Project co-founder – an organization against the re-election of Donald Trump – accused those attacking Zelensky of being supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
‘All the little alt-right, MAGA troll boys from TPUSA et al aren’t anti-Zelensky. They’re pro-Putin. Don’t let their bulls**t about money or respect or whether he wears a suit fool you. They want America on the other side in this war,’ he said.
Since Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Zelensky has made a point to continue wearing his wartime fatigues.
He has be seen almost nightly speaking from a bunker in Kyiv wearing the same style of clothing, while also wearing it to visit soldiers on the front lines to boost morale.
Zelensky has not wavered from this, and even wore the same khaki-colored clothing when speaking to the United Nations, the G20, and during visits being made to Ukraine by other foreign dignitaries – including Presidents and Prime Ministers.
This has been in stark contrast to Putin, who is often seen in his presidential palace wearing a suit, speaking only to a small circle of advisers, while making rare appearances outside his walls in public.
The attacks on Zelensky came after a pandemic-era US federal immigration policy – known as Title 42 – expired, allowing an influx of migrants into the country.
The visit also came as US politicians are set to vote on a year-end spending package that includes about $45billion in emergency assistance to Ukraine. The United States has been by far the largest donor country to Ukraine, sending $18.5billion for arms and equipment. Germany, at $2.34billion, is the second largest.
Carlson said: ‘The president of Ukraine arrived at the White House dressed like the manager of a strip club and demanding money and amazingly no one threw him out.’
The comments came after the president of war-torn Ukraine finished his address to Congress, in which Carlson remarked his surprise that ‘no one threw him out’ of the event for his attire
At one point Carlson recalled that disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried had done something similar, saying the Ukrainian President’s attire was reminiscent of that
He also observed that ‘Joe Biden will continue to give Zelensky whatever he demands for “as long as it takes”‘.
At one point, Carlson recalled that disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried had done something similar, saying the Ukraine presidents attire was reminiscent of that.
‘The media, Congress, the White House all love this weird little guy called Bankman-Fried. Remember that? We were reminded of that.’
Carlson went on to question why specifics weren’t discussed between the two heads of state, including what happens ‘if Zelensky wins’ the war against Russia.
‘Biden never specified, what “it” is, and “as long as it takes” to do, what? Push the Russian army back to pre-invasion borders? That sounds reasonable, that’s what most Americans likely assume, those still paying attention.’
Carlson also claimed some important issues were not addressed during the visit.
‘But that is not what Zelensky means, it is not what he is asking for, Zelensky is demanding regime change in Russia,’ he said.
‘What happens if he wins? What does the ensuing chaos look like? Who secures the largest arsenal of nuclear weapons? Strangely those questions didn’t come up today.
‘The point was to fawn over the Ukrainian strip club manager and hand him billions more dollars from our own crumbling economy.’
Carlson questioned why specifics weren’t discussed between the two heads of state including what happens ‘if Zelensky wins’ the war against Russia
The Ukraine politician met with President Biden at Washington at 2.30pm today to have a meeting which focused on the ‘enduring commitment to Ukraine’ from the U.S.
Zelensky asked Biden for more Patriot missiles on Wednesday, during a joint press conference with the American president at the White House.
‘What is going to happen after the patriots are installed? After that, we will send another signal to President Biden that we would like to get more patriots,’ he said.
And when the audience in the room laughed, Zelensky, a former comedian, used the moment to his advantage: ‘We are in a war,’ he said in English with a shrug.
As Biden chuckled at the direct request, Zelensky added: ‘I’m sorry. I’m really sorry.’
‘We’re working on it,’ Biden responded of the request.
Biden, meanwhile, vowed to Zelensky that the U.S. ‘will stay with you’ against Putin’s invasion.
But he appeared to be reading answers to questions about how he will hold the western alliance together against Russia while explaining why the U.S. isn’t sending even more powerful weaponry.
The American president appeared to read off note cards when he said of the alliance: ‘We have never seen a major invasion of a European country since World War II.
‘And they see no signs that Putin is going to do anything to change that unless we resist and we help the Ukrainians resist. We all know what is at stake.’
When Ukrainian reporters joined Zelensky in pushing Biden for more advanced weapons so they can defeat Putin, Biden noted ‘we have given Ukraine what they needed, when they needed to defend themselves.’
And he read off a laundry list of financial aid and military assistance.
US President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky held a press conference in the East Room of the White House
Zelensky asked President Biden for more Patriot missiles on Wednesday, during a joint press conference with the American president at the White House
Zelensky said the end of the war, for him, would end once Ukraine’s sovereignty, freedom and territorial integrity were restored
The few moments of levity underscored the seriousness of the visit. Biden told Zelensky: ‘You’ll never stand alone.’
He praised Zelensky for wanting to pursue a ‘just peace’ with Putin, adding that ‘we also know that Putin has no intention of stopping this cruel war.’
‘American people have been with you every step of the way and we will stay with you. We will stay with you for as long as it takes,’ he added.
But Zelensky rejected Biden’s framing of a ‘just peace’ when it comes to talks with Russia on ending the conflict.
‘For me as a president, “just peace” is no compromises,’ he said.
‘The longer this war lasts, the longer this aggression lasts, there will be more parents who live for the sake of vengeance,’ he noted.
He said the end of the war, for him, would end once Ukraine’s sovereignty, freedom and territorial integrity were restored. And he said they would need ‘payback for all the damages inflicted by Russian aggression’.
‘There can’t be any “just peace” in the war that was imposed on us,’ he noted.
During the press conference, Biden formally announced he was giving the Patriot Missile Defense System to Ukraine – a move that infuriated Russia.
Biden defended his decision, saying ‘it is a defensive weapon system. It is not escalatory but defensive.’
Zelensky called it an ‘important step’ and expressed his gratitude, saying it will ‘strengthen our air defense significantly.’
He also said he hoped Congress – even with Republicans taking over the House in January – would continue to offer his country financial aid.
Russian president Vladimir Putin vowed retaliation in response to the U.S. giving Ukraine the Patriot missile defense system. He addressed senior military commanders as Zelensky headed to the United States
Zelensky (left) gets out of his SUV at the White House and is greeted by President Joe Biden (center) and first lady Jill Biden (right)
Members of the security forces for Zelensky are followed by members of the Secret Service during Zelensky’s visit to the White House
Zelensky has long sought the Patriot missile defense system, which would help his military fend off Russian attacks that have destroyed much of its infrastructure.
It is widely considered one of the best and most capable systems when it comes to defending airspace against incoming attacks. Because of its long range, it can potentially shoot down Russian missiles far from their intended targets inside Ukraine.
It is a complicated system, however, that requires dozens of people to operate and usually takes months to train personnel on how to use. U.S. officials will train Ukrainian service members in Germany, according to reports.
It’s unclear when the missile system will be used in Ukraine given the long training period and the complex logistical arrangements for delivering the sensitive equipment.
Russia responded to the news of the new weaponry with a threat.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said the delivery of Patriot missiles will lead ‘to an aggravation of the conflict’ and does ‘not bode well for Ukraine.’
Zelensky said on Wednesday he wanted to come to the United States earlier ‘but I couldn’t do it because the situation was so difficult.’
He offered ‘all my appreciations from my heart and from the heart of all Ukrainians.’
He thanked Biden, Congress, and ‘ordinary people’ in the United States for their support.
During the visit, his first outside the Ukraine since Russia invaded in February, Zelensky will attempt to barter his star power for hard cash and advance military weaponry.
Biden’s promises to Ukraine come amid the end of the Trump-era mandate Title 42.
Pictured: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky meets with Joe Biden in the Oval Office at the White House on September 1, 2021, before the invasion began
Left: Britain’s wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill is seen during a visit to the White House in January, 1942, wearing military attire. He later addressed Congress (right) wearing a suit
Pictured: Zelensky is seen during a visit from then-UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in April
Pictured: Zelensky addresses a meeting of the United Nations in Washington, in March
A long line of migrants formed on the U.S. side of the southern border near El Paso on Monday, December 19 as news broke that the Supreme Court put a 24-hour stay on the end of Title 42
A group of migrants turn themselves into Border Patrol after wading across the Rio Grande on Sunday as U.S. border cities brace for an influx of asylum seekers
Migrants preparing to cross the US-Mexico border where a bus awaits to transport them
Title 42 allowed for immediate expulsion of migrants crossing into the U.S. illegally and claiming asylum in the midst of the Covid-19 public health emergency.
With the end of the pandemic also came the end of that policy on December 21.
Predictive models showed that illegal immigration along the entire southern border could surge to 14,000 crossings every day once Title 42 ends.
The Supreme Court issued an order on Monday placing a 24-hour stay on Title 42 ending as it reviews GOP requests for a longer pause on the policy’s use to expel migrants. Chief Justice John Roberts, a conservative, gave Biden’s team until Tuesday at 5pm to respond to the order.
The online portal being weighed by the administration would allow certain asylum-seekers to apply for asylum and then seek permission to fly to the U.S. to remain on temporary humanitarian grounds as their claims are considered, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The aim would be to take pressure off of border crossings.
Another plan to stop people from making the harrowing journey to the U.S. through parts of South and Central America, is to bring back an ‘updated’ version of a transit ban policy implemented under former president Donald Trump.
Sources claimed that the so-called transit ban would subject migrants to speedy deportation ‘unless they can pass a tougher initial asylum screening’ than what is currently in place.
El Paso, Texas is feeling the brunt of the migration crisis currently, with thousands walking into the U.S. every day at that crossing point alone and at least hundreds camping out on the streets of the city with nowhere else to go after being released from Border Patrol custody.
Migrants are sleeping on deconstructed cardboard on the streets of El Paso as temperatures have dropped below freezing in the southern border city.
Monica De La Cruz will be the first Republican and woman to represent Texas’s 15th congressional district since its establishment in 1902. The district spans a portion of the southern border with Mexico, which includes a popular migrant crossing area in McAllen, Texas.
The congresswoman-elect told DailyMail.com that if Title 42 ends, the Biden administration needs to tackle the migration crisis by ‘reinstituting the Remain in Mexico Policy’, as well as working with ‘safe’ South and Central American countries as alternative nations for asylum-seekers and providing more resources to Border Patrol.
She claimed agents need ‘night-vision goggles’ and ‘drones,’ and even claimed that some don’t have fully operational vehicles due to budget and resource restrictions.