Speaker Johnson Announces He’ll Invite Netanyahu to Address Congress

Craig Bannister | March 22, 2024
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A letter signed by Media Research Center Pres. Brent Bozell this week urged House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) to invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress. On Thursday, Johnson announced plans to do just that.

“We’ll certainly extend that invitation,” Rep. Johnson told MSNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Thursday. “We’re just trying to work out schedules on all this,” Johnson explained.

The House Speaker was discussing the rift in Congress between supporters and opponents of Israel’s ongoing battle to wipe out Hamas, the terrorist group that attacked Israel on October 1.

Last week, Democrat Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) sparked outrage when he denounced Netanyahu and called for him to be removed from office as Israel’s prime minister.

“What Chuck Schumer did was just almost staggering, just unbelievable,” Johnson told CNBC:

“To suggest to our strongest ally in the Middle East, the only stable democracy, that he knows better how to run their democracy, is just patently absurd.”

This week, Schumer rejected a request from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak with Senate Democrats. Republicans accepted a similar request, as Fox News reports:

“Netanyahu met with Senate Republicans in a closed-door virtual meeting on Wednesday. But a Schumer spokesperson said there would be no such meeting with Democrats and that any discussions with the Israeli leader should be bipartisan.”

“I will always welcome the opportunity for the prime minister of Israel to speak to Congress in a bipartisan way,” Schumer said later in a statement, implying that he might be open to hearing Netanyahu address Congress.

Democrats were offended the last time a Republican House Speaker invited Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress, nearly a decade ago, Associated Press reports:

“Netanyahu appeared before a joint meeting of Congress in 2015 at the invitation of then-Republican speaker John Boehner during sensitive U.S. talks about Iran’s nuclear program, a move that Democrats criticized as partisan because President Barack Obama’s White House was not initially consulted.”

Conservative leaders, including MRC Pres. Bozell, have been calling on Speaker Johnson to ask Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress.

The address would allow Netanyahu to set the record straight about Israel’s war with Hamas, they said in a letter to Johnson, organized by former Vice President Mike Pence's nonprofit, Advancing American Freedom.:

“It would help fact cut through fiction, as the media’s attention on the Israel-Hamas war and the remaining hostages, particularly the five Americans still believed to be held hostage by Hamas, continues to fade.”

“It is imperative that Congress show its support for Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Israeli people in their war against Hamas,” the conservative leaders said in their letter.