President Donald Trump promised “unwavering” support to the Ukraine president in a May 29 letter congratulating his election victory. Trump also invited President Volodymyr Zelensky to the White House, saying the invitation was a sign of the United States’ “commitment” to the young democracy.
Trump’s letter points to a sharp contrast between the president’s official, warm communications with Zelensky and the moves he actually wanted from Kyiv.
“The United States and Ukraine are steadfast partners, working together to realize the shared vision of a stable, prosperous, and democratic Ukraine that is integrated into the Euro-Atlantic community,” Trump’s letter says. “Our partnership is rooted in the idea that free citizens should be able to exercise their democratic rights, choose their own destiny, and live in peace. As you said in your victory speech, your election demonstrates that democracy is possible anywhere in the former Soviet region. Ukraine’s success exemplifies the triumph of democracy over resurgent despotism. United States support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is unwavering.”
Over the course of the next several months, it became clear to State Department and White House officials that something was preventing a meeting between Trump and Zelensky, according to testimony from multiple administration officials who appeared before House investigators.
In a press conference last month, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said the letter to Zelensky was merely a “courtesy.”
“We get asked by foreign leaders all the time to either come visit their country or to have them come visit here, and we try to be courteous and say yes,” Mulvaney said. “I don’t remember a serious conversation about setting up an actual meeting. There were no dates discussed.”
In the weeks after the White House sent the letter, the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and State Department officials worked to get Ukraine to publicly commit to investigating gas company Burisma. This is the company whose board Hunter Biden sat on.
Credit: Daily Beast