Zelensky’s Whirlwind U.S. Tour

Happy Friday! Thanks to all the Dispatch members who joined Steve, Declan, and Andrew in Des Moines Thursday night. We hope you enjoyed getting to know each other a little better outside of the comments section—stay tuned for details on future meetups! 

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • The Biden administration expanded the Temporary Protected Status program for Venezuelan migrants on Wednesday, making eligible for employment an estimated 472,000 Venezuelans who entered the country before July 31. The program has already provided 242,000 Venezuelans with temporary status. Biden’s move comes as his administration faces pressure from the leaders of Democratic cities to help with the large influx of migrants. The border city of Eagle Pass, Texas, declared a state of emergency Thursday as more than 10,000 migrants are projected to enter the city of 28,000 this week. 
  • House Speaker Kevin McCarthy failed again Thursday to bring a defense spending bill to the floor as a small contingent of Republican hardliners blocked a procedural rule, incensing the rest of the Republican conference. “This is a whole new concept of individuals that just want to burn the whole place down,” McCarthy said after the vote. The speaker had planned to pass the defense bill this week and then vote on a stop-gap measure to temporarily fund the government, but he sent lawmakers home for the weekend after the vote failed.
  • The Senate voted to confirm Marine Corps Gen. Eric M. Smith and Army Gen. Randy George to lead their respective services on Thursday by votes of 96-0 for Smith and 96-1 for George. The confirmations mark more progress in bypassing Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s mass hold on military promotions. 
  • Indian authorities announced Thursday that they would stop issuing new visas to Canadians and requested that Canada reduce its diplomatic mission in the country. The blanket visa hold is a further escalation in the countries’ conflict over the killing of a Canadian Sikh leader, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, in British Columbia, which Canada alleges could have happened at the direction of the Indian government.
  • Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the United States have signaled progress in efforts to normalize relations between Riyadh and Jerusalem as President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met at the United Nations General Assembly this week. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said the prospect of normalization is “getting closer every day” in a rare interview with Fox News on Wednesday. The Biden administration is reportedly weighing mutual defense pacts with both countries as part of the peace deal, but the contours of such agreements—and whether they would require congressional approval—remain unclear.
  • David McCormick—an Army veteran and former hedge fund executive—announced Thursday he is running to unseat Democratic Sen. Bob Casey in 2024. McCormick ran in the 2022 Republican primary for the seat, narrowly losing to celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz, who in turn lost to John Fetterman in the general election. McCormick enters the race with the backing of Pennsylvania’s Republican congressional delegation.
  • Rupert Murdoch said yesterday that he is stepping down as chairman of the boards of Fox and News Corporation. The 92-year-old media magnate’s son Lachlan will replace him as the chairman of both boards. Rupert will become chairman emeritus.

Mr. Zelensky Goes (Back) to Washington

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and U.S. President Joe Biden walk to the Oval Office of the White House September 21, 2023. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and U.S. President Joe Biden walk to the Oval Office of the White House September 21, 2023. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

In July 2022, Kevin McCarthy delivered a midterm campaign stump speech to a room full of Republicans in Columbia, South Carolina. Five months after Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, the then-House minority leader made a pointed historical analogy: He compared Russian President Vladimir Putin’s assault to Adolf Hitler’s actions leading up to World War II. In McCarthy’s telling, President Joe Biden—and former President Barack Obama before him—stood in as a modern-day Neville Chamberlain, the British prime minister who sought to appease Hitler’s bloodlust until it was too late.

“What did Hitler see?” McCarthy asked. “Weakness. And one year later, he invades Poland.” Then he fast-forwarded to February 2022. “Putin saw [in Joe Biden] the same thing Hitler saw: weakness. So what did he do? The same thing Hitler did. He invaded Ukraine.”

The point McCarthy wanted his audience to take away? Learn from history.“We don’t have to go to war,” he said. “Why don’t we just supply the weapons ahead of time so they can defend themselves?” His audience applauded.

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