US Lawmakers Criticize Decision Not To Allow President Ruto Address Congress

The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) of the United States has faulted the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, James Johnson for failing to allow President William Ruto to address a joint session of Congress.

The caucus, in a post on X, expressed pride in hosting President Ruto whom they awarded him an honorary membership in the CBC.

“While Speaker Johnson might not have given the President of Kenya the opportunity to address a Joint Session of Congress, the CBC was proud to welcome President Ruto to the United States Capitol today. We were honored to present President Ruto honorary membership in the CBC. This comes after the Speaker Mike Johnson refused to host Kenyan President William Ruto for a joint meeting of Congress which is usually extended to other international leaders,” reads the post.

Speaking during the meeting at the Capitol, Ruto lauded the Congressional Black Caucus for their role in advancing social justice, human rights and economic development across the globe.

“Kenya recognises the special role that the Congressional Black Caucus continues to play in advancing social justice, human rights and economic development across the globe.”

“We implore the Congress to take lead in reconfiguring the global financial architecture where power is not in the hands of the few. A bold, robust and targeted approach will free Africa of the debt burden and transform the world,” said Ruto.

The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is an organization composed of African American members of the United States Congress.

The formation seeks to address legislative concerns of Black and minority communities and to ensure their voices are represented in the legislative process.

In a statement issued on Saturday, Speaker Johnson’s deputy chief of staff Raj Shah said the decision not to invite Ruto to address a joint session of Congress was due to scheduling constraints.

“Speaker Johnson welcomes President Ruto to the Capitol. We have offered the Kenyan embassy over 90 minutes of engagement including a one-on-one visit with Speaker Johnson, bipartisan leadership meeting with Speaker Johnson, Leader Jeffries, and Committee Chairmen and Ranking members, and a bicameral meeting.

“Unfortunately, due to scheduling restraints, we could not accommodate a request for remarks before a Joint Session,” reads the statement.

Ruto would have been the first Kenyan leader to speak before a joint meeting of Congress and the first African leader to do so since Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2006.

A formal request had been issued to the United States Speaker of the House of Representatives to invite Ruto for the address by House Foreign Affairs Committee Member Gregory Meeks and Committee Chairman Michael McCaul.

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