Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Rep. Pramila Jayapal on Tuesday withdrew a letter sent to President Biden this week urging him to secure a peace deal in Ukraine.
Jayapal said the letter in question was drafted months ago and was not properly vetted before its distribution by a staff member Monday.
The chairwoman said that while she accepts responsibility for the letter’s distribution, she wanted to make clear it does not mean Democrats support pulling the plug on aid to Ukraine.
“Because of the timing, our message is being conflated by some as being equivalent to the recent statement by Republican Leader McCarthy threatening an end to aid to Ukraine if Republicans take over,” she said. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”
The letter in question caused uproar Monday after she and 29 other progressive members of the Party like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D- N.Y., called on Biden to take immediate steps to negotiation with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“We agree with the Administration’s perspective that it is not America’s place to pressure Ukraine’s government regarding sovereign decisions, and with the principle you have enunciated that there should be ‘nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine,'” the group wrote.
“But as legislators responsible for the expenditure of tens of billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars in military assistance in the conflict, we believe such involvement in this war also creates a responsibility for the United States to seriously explore all possible avenues, including direct engagement with Russia, to reduce harm and support Ukraine in achieving a peaceful settlement,” they added.
Fellow Democrats were outraged by the letter with one Massachusetts Democrat, Rep. Jake Auchincloss, calling it “an olive branch to a war criminal who’s losing his war.”
Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wisc., expressed confusion as to why it had been published given its three-month-old date.
“This was written in July and I have no idea why it went out now. Bad timing,” he said on Twitter. “Second, it was trying to get to a cease-fire and diplomacy as others were banging war drums, not criticizing Biden. Third, I’ve supported the efforts & will continue. Over-analyzed by some.”
Jayapal said in a statement Tuesday that she was withdrawing the letter because while she supports ending the war “with diplomacy” the letter’s poor timing meant it had “been conflated with GOP opposition.”
“It is a distraction at this time,” she added.
The chairwoman told Fox News that she may be considering making a bid for a top leadership position in the Party, though it is unclear if a blunder of this kind could hurt her chances.
“A lot is still uncertain. We’ll just we’ll just have to see. Right now, we’re 100 percent focused, maybe 200 percent focused on the upcoming November elections,” she said Tuesday.
Fox News’ Anders Hagstrom contributed to this report.