Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) offered rare praise for Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Wednesday after he met with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen in California.
Pelosi — who had a notoriously bitter relationship with McCarthy during her tenure as Speaker when he was minority leader — said the GOP leader’s meeting with Tsai should be “commended.”
“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,” Pelosi said in a statement.
McCarthy hosted a meeting with Tsai at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California on Wednesday along with more than a dozen lawmakers from both parties, including Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), the chair and ranking member of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party. House Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar (Calif.) also attended.
McCarthy is now the most senior elected U.S. official to meet with Tsai on U.S. soil. Chinese officials adamantly rejected the meeting between the two, warning that countermeasures and consequences could follow.
On Wednesday, the Chinese Embassy in Washington warned House lawmakers against meeting with Tsai, calling the interactions “serious political provocations.” Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa), who was in California for the meeting, shared screenshots of the email on Twitter Wednesday.
“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,” McCarthy said after the event, adding “there’s no need for retaliation.”
Pelosi went to Taiwan in August despite warnings from China against doing so; her high-profile visit ratcheted up tensions between Washington and Beijing, which views Taiwan as a province of China that cannot conduct its own diplomacy.
After the visit, McCarthy criticized Pelosi for not including any Republicans in the congressional delegation. Pelosi invited Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the then-ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, but he was unable to attend.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said he met with Tsai during a transit through New York City last week.
“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,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.