Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is usually not one to side with Republicans on any issue at all.
That’s why it was surprising this week when she praised current House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a Republican who took her place in office, for meeting with Tsai Ing-wen, the president of Taiwan, on Wednesday in California. That state is where both McCarthy and Pelosi are from.
In a statement released this week, Pelosi said:
“Today’s meeting between President Tsai of Taiwan and Speaker McCarthy is to be commended for its leadership, its bipartisan participation, and its distinguished and historic venue.”
The meeting was hosted at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. In excess of one dozen Republican and Democratic lawmakers were present for the meeting. That included Republican Representative Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin – the chair of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party – and Democratic Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois – the ranking member on that same committee.
Also present at the meeting was Pete Aguilar of California, the chair of the House Democratic Caucus.
Before the meeting was held, China’s Embassy in Washington, D.C., issued a warning to the lawmakers that they shouldn’t meet with Tsai. They labeled the meeting as “serious political provocations.”
Apparently taking notice of what the Chinese government had said, McCarthy commented after the meeting was over:
“I felt our meeting today provided a greater peace and stability for the world. America’s support for the people of Taiwan will remain resolute, unwavering and bipartisan. There’s no need for retaliation.”
To date, McCarthy represents the senior-most American official who has met with Tsai in the United States. He also became the second House Speaker to meet with the president of Taiwan, as Pelosi traveled to the country in August when she was speaker still. Both she and McCarthy each garnered angry responses from China following their respective meetings.
Back in May, a few months before Pelosi traveled to Taiwan, the State Department issued a statement that clarified the relationship between the U.S. and Taiwan. It read, in part:
“The United States’ approach to Taiwan has remained consistent across decades and administrations. The United States has a longstanding one China policy, which is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three U.S.-China Joint Communiques, and the Six Assurances. We oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo from either side; we do not support Taiwan independence; and we expect cross-Strait differences to be resolved by peaceful means.”
Tsai’s trip to California is the latest in his tour of the United States. Last week, he was in New York City, where he met with Hakeem Jeffries, the House minority leader.
Following that meeting, Jeffries issued a statement that read:
“We had a very productive conversation about the mutual security and economic interests between America and Taiwan. We also discussed our shared commitment to democracy and freedom. I wish President Tsai a safe return as she transits through California and travels back to Taiwan.”