US Congressman Richard Neal Blasts Speaker Over Ruto’s Address to Congress

Fresh developments have emerged over proposals to have President William Ruto address the US Congress during his State Visit later this month.

Amid reports that the invitation to address the Congress will be declined, US congressman Richard Neal of Massachusetts blasted the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Mike Johnson over the matter.

In a hard-hitting statement dated Friday, May 10, Neal opined that the speaker did not recognise the importance of Ruto’s visit to the US.

He wondered why Ruto was not going to be allowed to address the Congress despite other world leaders being offered the opportunity during their state visits.

US congressman Richard Neal of Massachusetts addressing a press conference on May 3, 2023.


Richard Neal

“This Congress, the Republican leadership has invited Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, President Isaac Herzog, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and President Yoon Suk Yeol to address joint meetings of Congress during their official visits to the United States, and I see no reason why President William Ruto’s upcoming state visit should be any different.

“Even in times of great tragedy and global conflict, the Congress has historically shown a depth of focus, and amid appliance acts, there should be time to recognize the importance of President Ruto’s visit,” he stated.

Therefore, Neal pushed for the speaker to extend an invitation to the Kenyan Head of State.

He added that Africa was an equal partner of the US noting that the continent has contributed to the rise of the US as a superpower.

“I had the privilege of hosting former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, where we spoke about the great opportunities to strengthen relations between our two economies present.

“Since then, Kenya has only continued to demonstrate its commitment to reaffirming our 60-year partnership. With the Biden Administration already rising to the rightful occasion by hosting a state dinner, the Congress must do the same,” he stated.

Neal’s sentiments were echoed by congresswoman Terri Sewell of Alabama, who underpinned the importance of enhancing Kenya-US relations.

The statements by leaders came amidst unconfirmed reports that the proposal to have Ruto address the Congress will be declined.

An official at the speaker’s office was quoted to have explained that the request was declined owing to the tight schedule.

Speaker Johnson is yet to officially state his decision.

Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Mike Johnson and former US President Donald Trump at a meeting on February 20, 2024.


Mike Johnson

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