House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, California Republican, said he would have liked to join Speaker Nancy Pelosi on her Taiwan congressional delegation, noting that no Republicans attended.
Mr. McCarthy said bringing a bipartisan delegation to Taiwan in an effort to send a message to Beijing about U.S. support for the island’s freedom would have sent a stronger message than just taking members of her party.
Mrs. Pelosi initially invited at least one Republican, but he couldn’t attend and she decided to take an all-Democrat entourage.
“I support her going to Taiwan. I would’ve gone with her, had she asked. She didn’t take one Republican. When she went to Ukraine, she didn’t take one Republican. So, if you really want to make a strong statement … don’t make it partisan. Don’t take all Democrats,” Mr. McCarthy told Fox News on Wednesday.
Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, landed in Taiwan on Tuesday, spending less than 24 hours in the nation with a group of six lawmakers.
The trip was unscheduled, and came amid threats from China and lukewarm support from the White House.
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The speaker was joined by Reps. Gregory Meeks of New York, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Mark Takano of California, Suzan DelBene of Washington, Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois, and Andy Kim of New Jersey.
Mrs. Pelosi is the first House speaker, and the highest-ranking U.S. official, to visit Taiwan since Newt Gingrich in 1997.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and 25 other Republican senators praised Mrs. Pelosi’s trip in a joint statement, supporting her initiative to rebuke Beijing.
Rep. Michael McCaul, Texas Republican and chairman of the GOP China task force, also backed the speaker, adding that she did extend an invitation to him.
“It’s her right to go,” Mr. McCaul told NewsNation. “She did invite me. I have family obligations … and I can’t, you know, family first. But I support her right to go to Taiwan.”