White House spokesman John Kirby is denying a rift between the White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) over Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan.

“I don’t believe that there was a public spat,” Kirby said during an appearance on Fox News on Aug. 2.

Pelosi intended to visit Taiwan earlier this year but canceled the trip due to testing positive for COVID-19.

As rumors flew that she was going to Taiwan during the rescheduled trip, President Joe Biden told reporters that “the military thinks it’s not a good idea right now.”

But Kirby said later that the speaker of the House “has the right to visit Taiwan.”

“We’ve been nothing but consistent here at the White House that we respect her decision to go. This is her decision that we provided her obviously support context analysis that she needed to make her decision,” Kirby said on Fox.

He said the White House did not try to talk Pelosi out of going.

(L-R) U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) poses for photographs with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, at the president’s office in Taipei, Taiwan, on Aug. 3, 2022. (Handout/Getty Images)

Pelosi Lands in Taiwan

Pelosi ended up landing in Taiwan, which was not on her original itinerary, on Aug. 2. The visit highlighted America’s commitment to supporting the country’s democracy, which has been self-ruled for decades but is viewed by the Chinese Communist Party as part of China, according to Pelosi.

While in Taiwan, Pelosi met with President Tsai Ing-wen, visited the National Human Rights Museum, and convened with top lawmaker Tsai Chi-chang.

Lawmakers from both parties praised the speaker for going through with the trip.

“We can’t let China tell us where to go and what to do. So the idea of Speaker Pelosi going to visit Taiwan is a good thing, in my view, because the Chinese Communist Party is no friend of freedom or democracy,” Sen Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said in a statement.

“Glad to see @SpeakerPelosi standing up for democracy,” Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Ga.) said. “Her trip to Taiwan honors our deep commitment to the Taiwanese people and their democracy. America will always stand up for democracy both at home and abroad.”

After Pelosi landed, the Chinese regime announced plans to hold live-fire exercises near Taiwan.

“This is exactly what we would expect the Chinese to do in the wake of or even during Speaker Pelosi’s trip,” Kirby said. “So this is pretty much the playbook we expect, and we’ll be watching to see how they develop.”

Zachary Stieber


Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.

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