Mitch McConnell offered up a lie filled defense of the act of sabotage that he committed against President Obama, but no amount of lies can quell the growing rage of millions of Americans.
I think this is a good case of selective outrage. I remember reading about Sen. Robert Byrd when he was the Senate Majority Leader flying to Moscow during the negotiations over the Salt II treaty explaining to the Russians the Senate’s role in treaty ratification, and John Kerry when he was a senator flew to Managua there and met with a communist dictator, Daniel Ortega, and accused the Reagan administration of engaging in terrorism. So look, members of Congress expressing themselves about important matters, not only at home, but around the world is not unprecedented. So the main point here that I think everybody needs to understand is the president is about to make a very bad deal. He clearly doesn’t want Congress involved in it at all, and we’re worried about it. We don’t think he ought to make a bad deal with one of the worst regimes in the world.”
Later, the Senate Majority Leader defended signing the letter, “I signed the letter. I don’t think it was a mistake. It was no more unusual than Robert Byrd going to Moscow or John Kerry going to Managua. I thought it was entirely appropriate. It explained that the process is going to include Congress at some point.”
Media reports from the 1980s don’t back up McConnell’s historical claims.
Here is how the Chicago Tribune described Byrd’s Moscow trip, ” Eight U.S. senators arrived in Moscow on Saturday to “lay any groundwork“ for improved superpower relations, relations that one of their Soviet greeters called “very bad.“ Sen. Robert Byrd (D., W.Va.), the Senate Democratic leader, said the delegation he heads is here “to promote the cause of peace and contribute to a better understanding“ between Moscow and Washington….But he said the Senate wants to work with President Reagan “and we want to try to be helpful in reaching arms-control agreements that will. . . promote peace between these two great countries.“ He said he will deliver a letter from Reagan to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on Tuesday. The senators, he said, want to help the Reagan-Gorbachev summit meeting, set for November in Geneva, “in every way we can.`”
The congressional delegation that went to Moscow was bipartisan. Senate Republicans also went on the trip. The trip to Moscow wasn’t designed to sabotage a president. The Senators delivered a letter from President Reagan to Soviet leaders.
The Senators were trying to help the White House, not sabotage a president.
On the Kerry example, the Boston Globe reported, Within weeks of taking office in 1985, he was off to Nicaragua, accompanied by reporters on a 36-hour, self-appointed fact-finding mission with another freshman, Democratic Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa. Congressional Democrats had accused the White House of exaggerating the communist threat posed by the Sandinista regime. So the two senators were publicly castigated when — just days after meeting with Daniel Ortega and other leaders of the regime — the Sandinistas climbed aboard a plane to Moscow to cement their Soviet ties.”
The Kerry trip was more controversial, but it different from what the 47 Republicans did because Kerry was engaged in a self-appointed fact-finding mission. He wasn’t speaking for the Senate or threatening to undermine the president.
What is different about the Iran letter is that it was a blatant attempt to undermine the foreign policy of the United States government. The letter states that any agreement that does not have Senate approval will only be considered an executive agreement, and, “the next president could revoke such an executive agreement with the stroke of a pen and future Congresses could modify the terms of the agreement at any time.”
Mitch McConnell is obviously proud of his act of sabotage, but his historical claims of precedence, don’t match the objective media accounts of the time.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association