Johnson plans to invite Netanyahu to address Congress

Speaker Mike Johnson said he’ll invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress, a move that comes a week after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s speech criticizing the Israeli leader’s handling of the war in Gaza.

“We will certainly extend that invitation,” the speaker said in an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “What Chuck Schumer did was just almost staggering, just unbelievable.”

“I wish Schumer would keep his comments to himself on all that,” Johnson added, saying “if we just have the House [for that speech], that’s fine too.”

Johnson told reporters Wednesday that he’d had a “lengthy” conversation with Netanyahu, indicating his interest in inviting the prime minister to speak to Congress.

Schumer’s speech has drawn fierce pushback from Republicans, but support, even among fierce Democratic defenders of Israel, who are frustrated with Netanyahu’s handling of the war.

A Schumer spokesperson did not immediately respond to request for comment. Any joint address to Congress would require his signoff.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries told POLITICO he had no reaction to Johnson’s planned invite. Democratic leadership has not formally heard from Johnson on the planned invitation, according to a Jeffries aide.

Johnson indicated his plan is to turn to Israel and Ukraine funding “immediately” upon the completion of the appropriations process for fiscal 2024.

Ursula Perano contributed to this report.