Scholz wants to secure US aid for Ukraine. But Biden has other worries

In Washington, Chancellor Olaf Scholz is trying to secure aid for Ukraine. “We must do our utmost to prevent Russia from winning,” he warned earlier. But US President Biden is currently worried about other things.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz has arrived in Washington for his 24-hour short visit, which will primarily focus on further military aid for Ukraine. The USA and Germany are Ukraine’s most important arms suppliers for its defense against Russian attackers. Scholz and US President Joe Biden want to prevent aid from Western allies from crumbling two years after the invasion. They will meet at the White House on Friday afternoon for a one-on-one conversation scheduled to last 60 minutes. Other topics: the Middle East conflict and the NATO anniversary summit to mark the alliance’s 75th anniversary in July.

Dinner with the senators: It’s about aid to Ukraine and Putin

Scholz arrived in Washington early on Thursday evening and then dined at the German ambassador’s residence with senators – including from former President Donald Trump’s Republican Party. The main topic here too: aid to Ukraine. Republicans in Congress have been blocking Biden’s billions in aid for Kiev for months.

Shortly before the Chancellor’s arrival there was at least a small glimmer of hope. A billion-dollar aid package for Ukraine cleared at least an initial procedural hurdle in the Senate. Further negotiations will now follow. Whether the Senate – and also the House of Representatives as the second chamber of parliament – actually agrees in the end is anyone’s guess. There is still a long way to go before a solution in Congress. After the meal, Scholz wrote on X (formerly Twitter): “Ukraine needs all our support to defend itself against Russian aggression.”

In the past few days, Trump himself had raised the mood against a previous version of the legislative package – with success. At the dinner, Scholz was perhaps able to get a sense of the universe of the ex-president, who wants to challenge Biden in the election on November 5th. Among the four Republican senators invited was Lindsey Graham, a loyal follower of Trump. The very strong supporters from the right-wing fringe of the party primarily sit in the House of Representatives.

Before his departure, Scholz once again warned urgently about what could happen if aid to Ukraine collapses. “We must do our utmost to prevent Russia from winning,” he wrote in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal. “If we don’t, we could soon wake up in a world that is even more unstable, threatening and unpredictable than during the Cold War.”

The Chancellor is currently trying to persuade EU partners to provide more military aid to Ukraine – especially economically strong countries such as France, Spain and Italy. The response so far has been moderate.

Biden is struggling with the document affair and his memory

Biden is currently struggling with completely different problems that have nothing to do with the crises in other countries around the world. Shortly before the Chancellor’s arrival, a document affair caught up with the Democrat: It is about the fact that he privately kept confidential government documents from his time as US Vice President – which is not allowed. The special investigator appointed to investigate the allegations did not recommend any legal consequences for Biden in his final report. But he described the most powerful man in the world as a doddering senior citizen with major memory problems, which is extremely inconvenient for Biden during the election campaign year.

In addition, Biden has again attracted attention with embarrassing slips of the tongue in the past few days. Just one day before the Chancellor’s visit, he confused his predecessor Angela Merkel with the deceased former Chancellor Helmut Kohl (both CDU) when he told an anecdote from the G7 summit in 2021 in New York. At a spontaneously called press conference on the special investigator’s report on Thursday evening, Biden made another slip of the tongue: When commenting on the Middle East crisis, he accidentally made Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi the head of state of Mexico.

No press conference with Scholz

There will be no press conference with Scholz on Friday. The German side cites time reasons as an explanation for this. At least for a few minutes at the beginning of their conversation, the two will present themselves to the public together in the Oval Office – and possibly also say a few sentences in the direction of Moscow and Kiev.