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Does It Matter That Ukrainian President Zelensky Didn’t Wear a Suit?

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

When liberals scoff at conservative outrage, it’s usually over things that are justifiably offensive, things that most Americans would find abhorrent—like flag burning. Yes, it’s a constitutionally protected right, but it doesn’t make the act any less disgusting. The difference is that liberals want whatever or whoever offends their sensibilities to be censored without question, hence why the ‘snowflake’ tag only applies to them. Most Americans love this country, so excuse us when we voice our outrage over things like the 1619 Project and critical race theory, left-wing projects that engage in anti-American historical revisionism that borders on academic fraud. The latest episode of conservative anger is something that isn’t as high intensity but something worth noting when it comes to defending the integrity of the Oval Office. 


You must dress appropriately when visiting the leader of the free world. That shouldn’t even be a question regarding protocol. No matter which party occupies the White House, dressing correctly when visiting the official residence of the president of the United States should be a no-brainer. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited President Biden and addressed a joint session of Congress last week, looking as if he had just returned from a morning jog. You’re also the president of a nation, Mr. Zelensky. Honor your office as well (via Newsweek):

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's visit to Washington, D.C., is being panned by conservatives who are critiquing his choice of wardrobe.

Zelensky was denounced by conservatives on social media for not wearing a suit while visiting with President Joe Biden on Wednesday. Although foreign heads of state typically wear somewhat more formal clothing while visiting the White House, Zelensky donned military fatigues for the visit, as he has done during nearly all of his public appearances since Ukraine's war with Russia began in February. 


"I know there's a war, but #Zelensky isn't under fire," tweeted financial commentator Peter Schiff. "He flew to the U.S. aboard a U.S. government private jet, arrived at the White House in a Chauffeur Driven SUV, yet showed up wearing a sweatshirt. It's better than a t-shirt, but I still maintain the proper attire is a suit."

"Zelensky arrives at the White House to demand more support than $45B aid in the omnibus bill," tweeted Wendell Husebo, writer for the conservative news website Breitbart. "For $45B, show some respect and rent a suit." 

"Zelensky flies all the way to the US, but still can't put on a suit," Breitbart politics editor Emma-Jo Morris tweeted. "Circus."


Before the Russian invasion, there were many photographs of President Zelensky dressing for the occasion by wearing a suit. He should have packed one for this trip. His nation being at war is no excuse—Britain faced the Blitz in 1941. Winston Churchill, whose nation was on the brink during this critical year, knew he couldn’t wear a donkey jacket. Is it something to vent over for days? Of course not. Zelensky’s visit is over, but you’d expect the man would wear something customary to the situation.

It goes beyond politics as well. Dressing for specific occasions is something your parents teach you. You don’t wear gym clothes to college interviews, weddings, or funerals. These are basic rules. You don’t waltz into the Oval Office in your street clothes. We get the message, too—Congress will continue to send more to Ukraine, so if this was part of the theatrics, it’s become trite.

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