Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) took a rare trip together Friday to visit the Munich Security Conference and meet with the Germany prime minister in a show of bipartisan support for NATO and Ukraine.
Speaking at the McCain Dissertation Award Dinner Friday evening, Schumer thanked McConnell for working with him and President Biden to deliver $113 billion in military and economic aid to Ukraine over the past year.
“To the people of Ukraine, I pledge that the United States Senate will not abandon our commitment to stand shoulder with you in this time of war. I am proud that the US Senate has approved $113 billion in military, economic, and humanitarian aid to Ukraine over the last year,” Schumer said.
“I want to thank my Republican colleagues who’ve championed American aid to the Ukrainians, especially my friend Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate,” he said.
Speaking to the security conference Friday morning, McConnell called on European leaders to strengthen their commitment to the trans-Atlantic alliance and emphasized the strength of bipartisan support in Congress for Ukraine.
“I am a conservative Republican from America and I come in peace! Reports about the death of Republican support for strong American leadership in the world have been greatly exaggerated,” he declared.
“Don’t look at Twitter, look at people in power. Look at me and Speaker Kevin McCarthy [R-Calif.]. Look at the top Republicans on the Senate and House committees that handle armed services, foreign affairs, appropriations and intelligence” issues, he said.
He made his comments after Donald Trump Jr., the former president’s son, tweeted “not one more cent for Ukraine until Americans get the care they deserve” in reference to a train derailment in Ohio that spilled toxic chemicals into the Ohio River.
McConnell pledged that Republican leaders are committed to a strong trans-Atlantic alliance and to helping Ukraine because “America’s own core national interests are at stake” given the ties between American and European security and prosperity.
The GOP leader posted a picture on Twitter of himself and Schumer standing next to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz with the caption: “We’re in a critical moment for American and European commitments to our militaries and our collective defense.”
In a Fox News interview Thursday, McConnell said “defeating the Russians in Ukraine is single most important event going on in the world right now.”
Schumer on Friday also visited Dachau, the site of the Nazi concentration camp outside of Munich, along with Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) to lay a wreath commemorating the millions of victims of the Holocaust.
Speaking at the security conference later in the day, Schumer warned European allies not to forget the lessons of World War II and the events that came before and after its horrors.
“We need only look back a few generations ago — to the Holodomor, when Stalin starved millions of Ukrainians — to see what horrors can happen when the world turns a blind eye to Russian aggression,” he said.
“And like Stalin, Putin will not stop at Ukraine. A Russian victory will not lead to détente but even more belligerence. Again: we dare not ignore the lessons of history. Appeasement only empowers autocrats,” he added.
The Democratic leader addressed European allies’ simmering discontent with huge American investments Congress passed last year to bolster domestic manufacturing of electric vehicles and semi-conductors, which European companies see as trade-unfriendly subsidies.
“I know many fear our actions suggest the U.S. is going its own way on clean energy,” he said. “That is not true — on the contrary, we recognize that while America must be a leader in fighting climate change, we can’t do it alone.”
Schumer pledged to “do everything we can” to ensure that robust U.S. investment in clean energy and other technologies “does not come at the expense of the trans-Atlantic partnership.”