President Joe Biden reportedly snapped at Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy when the latter wasn’t grateful enough for U.S. aid against Russia’s invasion of his country.
Biden lost his temper during a phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart over the summer, CNBC reported, citing four anonymous people familiar with the call.
The U.S. president had been telling Zelenskyy about a new $1 billion round of military assistance that was headed his way when the Ukrainian president started listing more aid he needed and wasn’t getting.
Biden raised his voice to say American taxpayers were already being generous, and his administration was working hard to help against the invasion, CNBC reported.
Since Russia’s invasion began in February, the U.S. has provided Ukraine with more than $17.9 billion in “security assistance,” or military funding, according to the Department of Defense. As recently as Oct. 28, a round of aid worth $275 million included rockets, artillery, satellite antennas and more.
Separately, $65 billion has left the U.S. for Ukraine in humanitarian aid packages that also included military funding, according to NBC News.
But public support for those levels of aid may be drying up. A Pew Research Center survey in September found that Americans are less concerned about Ukrainian defeat than they were in May.
The survey also found that a growing share of Republicans say the U.S. is providing too much aid. And Republican politicians have been among the most vocal in questioning whether Ukraine’s war effort is a U.S. priority.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), expected to be Speaker of the House if his party wins that chamber in the midterm election, recently said Americans would not want “to write a blank check to Ukraine” in an impending recession, according to the Washington Post.
After Biden reportedly rebuked Zelenskyy over the phone in June, the U.S. and Ukrainian presidents praised each other in public statements. Zelenskyy said he is “grateful for this support,” and Biden said the U.S. and its allies “will not waver in our commitment to the Ukrainian people as they fight for their freedom.”
Their relationship has only improved since then, administration officials told CNBC.