Pelosi compares Zelensky to Winston Churchill in lead-up to 'heroic' Congressional address

"Eighty-one years later this week, it is particularly poignant for me to be present when another heroic leader addresses the Congress in a time of war – and with Democracy itself on the line."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday formally invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to address Congress, calling him "heroic" and comparing him to the late British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who made a rousing wartime speech in the chamber 81 years ago this week.

Pelosi's letter to the Ukrainian leader was released publicly Wednesday morning, confirming reports of Zelensky making a visit to Washington, D.C., in his first known international trip since Russia's invasion in February.

In her invitation, she spoke for the American people as well as the world in saying that they're "in awe of the heroism" of the European country's fight against Russia. 

"America and the world are in awe of the heroism of the Ukrainian people. In the face of Putin's horrific atrocities, Ukrainian freedom fighters have inspired the world with an iron will and an unbreakable spirit — fighting back against Russia's brutal, unjustified invasion."

She went on to vow to impose "devastating" sanctions on Russia and to continue to send as much "resources" as Ukraine needs.

"During this dark moment, your courageous, patriotic, indefatigable leadership has rallied not only your people, but the world, to join the frontlines of the fight for freedom. America and our allies have proudly answered your call: imposing devastating sanctions on Putin and ensuring Ukraine has the resources it needs to win this war."

In a letter announcing Zelensky's appearance to her congressional colleagues, Pelosi made the comparison to Churchill.

"My father, Congressman Thomas D'Alesandro, Jr., was a Member of the House in 1941 when Winston Churchill came to the Congress on the day after Christmas to enlist our nation's support in the fight against tyranny in Europe," the Speaker said. "Eighty-one years later this week, it is particularly poignant for me to be present when another heroic leader addresses the Congress in a time of war – and with Democracy itself on the line."

Some House Republicans weren't too pleased with the comparison and money-grabbing.

"Biden requested $37 billion for Ukraine. The bill allocates $47 billion - bringing total aid to >$100 billion," North Carolina Rep. Dan Bishop posted on Twitter.

"Zelenskyy will address Congress tonight, & will likely ask for EVEN MORE $$$. Meanwhile, Pelosi is comparing him to Churchill & says that democracy [is] on the line."

The Ukrainian president's visit comes as Congress comes up on voting on the giant end-of-year federal spending bill, which has a whopping $1.7 trillion price tag. Included in that nearly $2 trillion is another $45 billion in aid for Ukraine, which would be the single largest sum of cash approved by Congress if the omnibus bill passes in three days. 

Zelensky is also scheduled to meet with President Joe Biden on Wednesday, after which the two will hold a joint press conference, reports The Hill.

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