Rep. Charlie Rangel was on MSNBC’s Jansing and Co responding to yet another Romney attack on the President, even as our country is facing attacks. Clearly projecting, Romney called Obama “amateur hour” over the Middle East. Romney apparently didn’t get the message that everyone else got in the President’s subtle “ally or foe” prod of Egypt, perhaps because Mitt Romney doesn’t do subtle. Romney would have Mittmockled Egypt with the Putin/Palestinian treatment and if that didn’t work, he’d have heaped some MittIran war drums on for good measure.
Rangel just said what everyone is thinking after Romney foreign policy/statesman debacles with Putin, Britain, Poland, Israel, Iran and now Libya, “When I start listening to how ridiculous their remarks get, and Romney’s response to Iran and Libya, I think that they’re becoming a threat to our national security. We just cannot afford that type of incompetency.”
Watch here via MSNBC:
Transcript from MSNBC with minor edits (emphasis mine):
Chris Jansing: Let me ask you this question that we were talking about the republican criticism of the president for saying that Egypt is neither an ally nor enemy and the response of the Romney campaign which is that this is amateur hour and the president can’t keep track of who is our ally or not, and what do you make of that?
Rep. Rangel: I’m so tempted to be political about this in terms of the lack of experience of Romney and so many of the people that are being critical, but I love my country so much more than democrat, I’m a patriot and I’m an American. This is a very sensitive and dangerous thing for our dedicated men and women in Foreign Service and regardless of who is president, democrat or republican, when it comes to the security of the nation; we have to yield to him. Foreign aid is not something that can be used to punish and reward countries. It is there for the security of our country basically, and so —
Chris Jansing if I can interrupt you congressman, because I want to make the point that you are making that there is a debate in congress now over the funding for the middle eastern countries, and if I can, I’d like to play senator rand Paul and then senator john Kerry, because they got into it. Rand Paul wants to pull $4 billion a year in funding for Pakistan, Libya, and Egypt. I want to play a little bit of the exchange.
Roll clips of Rand Paul and John Kerry:
Rand Paul: they know the American people are with me. If you ask question, should we send money to countries that don’t like us and disrespect us? 80% to 90% of the American people are with me on this.
John Kerry: I’d ask the senator, have you ever been to Pakistan? Has the senator ever been to Egypt? I ask the senator. Has the senator ever been to Egypt? Well, senator does not want to answer and I presume that means he has not been. He ought to go to Egypt and see what those people are struggling to do. That is a revolution in their square. And it contain –
Chris Jansing: And it continued. And if a constituent came to you saying that we should give money to countries holding anti-American demonstrations, what would your answer be?
Rep. Rangel: I would have to take time to tell them, of course, we resent giving aid or assistance to countries that don’t appear to be appreciative of that aid. Of course, it is unpopular thing to do. But foreign aid and how we send our troops into harm’s way is not based on popularity, and that is really why it is even more disgraceful when the senate that has six years they don’t have to make these immature appeals to the love and affection of constituents. They have an obligation to do what is important to the United States of America and in the long run and not with each and every incident that hurts pains and us us like the loss of Americans abroad.
Chris Jansing: and so you think that the comments by Rand Paul show an immaturity?
Rep. Rangel: I think it is sad. I don’t want to get too political with rand Paul, because he and his dad have a different feelings about things that I don’t understand and fortunately most members of Congress in the House and the Senate, Republicans and Democrats, resent this type of immature knee-jerking reaction to a very serious problems that we are facing in this part of the world.
Chris Jansing: congressman, I want to ask you finally that you saw the poll in the state where you and I both live and no surprise that the president is significantly ahead in New York, but also the new battleground state polls that show that the president is taking a lead in key places like Florida. He has quite a wide lead and high single digits in Ohio and there you see Virginia as well. But these polls also show that there are these key swing voters who haven’t made up their mind and there are always voters — could their minds be changed on what is going on abroad? What will determine this race eventually?
Rep. Rangel: it is going if be a close race and so many Democrats and Republicans have dug in to make up their minds and I said yesterday when I listened to the remarks coming from Governor Romney as a partisan Democrat, if you will, I am so pleased that the incompetency would help the president get re-elected, but when I listen to how ridiculous the remarks get and Romney ‘s response to Iran and Libya, they are becoming a threat to the national security. We just cannot afford that kind of incompetency and afford for our friends and allies to believe that people that have this immature response to international disasters for us could possibly be president of the United States. I hope —
Chris Jansing: I want to make sure I understand, congressman. You believe that some of the comments are actually causing problems and endangering US’s security and endangering national security and potentially endangering our military abroad?
Rep. Rangel: No question about it… You don’t punish a country, because what has been done by some of them. As a matter of fact, if that were true, we would have decimated Saudi Arabia in terms of 9/11 and it is ridiculous the make a statement like that without knowing the facts, and we don’t get the facts and all of the facts in Washington at the time that these things happen.
Rangel notes that while Romney’s foot in mouth syndrome is helpful to Obama, there is a larger issue of what is best for America. Putting politics aside in terms of what is best for the Democrats regarding the election, Rangel sees Romney’s comments as a threat to our national security.
Mitt Romney is wrong about Egypt, just as he was wrong about Libya, wrong about Russia, wrong about the Palestinians.
Romney gives no sense that he understands the seriousness of geopolitics. He has not demonstrated once that he can handle even the easiest job of a statesman, that of attending the Olympics without causing insulting the hosts, let alone serious strategy or the complexity of our relationships with our allies. Everyone is a pawn to Mitt Romney, including other whole countries.
Romney seems to have no filter. He seems to think this is all a game checkers that he wants to win so badly that he’s burning down all in his path, and taking collateral damage with him. It’s not just our troops Romney’s recklessness puts in danger; Josh Marshall from TPM offers the perspective of a Foreign Service Officer:
It’s probably not a surprise. But can I just say that if Mitt Romney wins in November, he is going to have a very chilly reception from his employees every time he goes abroad? I don’t think I can quite state the rage we’re all feeling towards him.
Furthermore, Mitt Romney is wrong about American values. We do not value intolerance and bigotry, although clearly his base does. The irony filter is off for Romney, for our values of tolerance and freedom are why we allow a certain amount of hate speech in this country – not because we VALUE hate speech or the message behind it, but because we value free speech. A real leader doesn’t condone hate speech or bigotry in the name of the American flag. It is not apologizing for American values to condemn bigotry.
When Mitt Romney said that we shouldn’t apologize for our values and equates those values with the message in a fringe crackpot of a trailer, he sends a very inflammatory message. The proper message is that in America, we value freedom of speech and of and from religion, which means we tolerate all kinds of expression we may not agree with. There is a difference between what we condemn and what we outlaw. It’s called decency. A good leader would know this.
Charlie Rangel said what most sane people are thinking right now, as Mitt Romney is set to start getting intelligence briefings as the Republican presidential nominee. His untethered mouth is a threat to our national security. His attacks on this president on foreign soil for political reasons were bad enough, as was his calling Russia our number one geopolitical foe, but he jumped the shark with his Libya.
Romney has become the poster child for all that is wrong with this unserious Republican Party, following the bigots and the fools instead of leading with knowledge and temperament befitting a statesman. Mitt Romney sort of reversed his position on the “movie” in an interview with George Stephanopoulos, but it’s a little too late. Romney is desperately trying to conflate his position with the White House’s position now, which is akin to admitting that the President got this right. But those are words we will never hear from Mitt Romney, even as America is under attack.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.