Did GOP Senators Really Undermine Obama's Nuclear Negotiations by Sending Letter to Iran?

Conservatives Reflect on the Number of Times Democrats Have Tried to Sabotage Republican Presidents by Meeting With Leaders Hostile to the US

Republican Tom Cotton
Republican Tom Cotton speaks after the results of the midterm elections in North Little Rock, Arkansas, November 4, 2014. |

In response to the liberal backlash against the 47 Republican senators who sent a joint letter to leaders of Iran about their nuclear negotiations with the Obama administration, conservatives have been quick to point out that, on several occasions, Democrats actually met with foreign leaders hostile to the U.S. in an attempt to undermine Republican presidents.

Philip Klein of the Washington Examiner wrote a piece Tuesday pointing to five different instances when Democrats tried to undermine Republicans presidents' foreign policy efforts.

These included a meeting between KGB officials and former Democratic Sen. John Tunney during the Cold War; 10 Democrat lawmakers voicing support for the Sandinista government of Nicaragua in 1984; former House Speaker Nanci Pelosi visiting Syrian President Bashar Assad in 2007; Democrats visiting Saddam Hussein's Iraq in 2002; and former Democratic President Jimmy Carter sending a letter to assorted nations in 1990 to stop George H.W. Bush from going to war with Iraq.

"In reality, whatever one's view of the letter, to call it 'unprecedented' is to ignore history," wrote Klein for Washington Examiner.

"The reality is that on many occasions, Democrats have reached out to foreign leaders to undermine the foreign policy of a sitting Republican president."

In a column for Breitbart earlier this week, Ben Shapiro pointed to seven instances when "Democrats advised America's enemies to oppose the president."

Like Klein, Shapiro noted the letter to the Sandinista government, the Tunney talk with the KGB, the Pelosi trip to Syria, and Democrats visiting Iraq.

Shapiro added to the list Democrat Sen. Jay Rockefeller's trip to various Middle East nations in 2002, Sen. John Kerry's trip to Sandinista-controlled Nicaragua in 1985, and Sens. John Sparkman and George McGovern's trip to Cuba in 1975.

"Jon Lovett, former White House speechwriter and current failed TV sitcom writer, tweeted, 'SHAME is the best medicine for these 47 Republicans. And they shall have it!' Other Democrats in the media said that Republicans were pushing war as an alternative to peace. … This is sheer nonsense," wrote Shapiro.

"It was the Obama administration that suggested no deal was better than a bad deal. But given the false dichotomy between any deal and war, that suggestion was obviously a ruse."

On Monday, 47 Republican senators signed an open letter to Iran informing them that Congress could invalidate any agreement between Obama and Iran over nuclear weapons talks.

"First, under our Constitution, while the president negotiates international agreements, Congress plays the significant role of ratifying them. In the case of a treaty, the Senate must ratify it by a two-thirds vote. … Anything not approved by Congress is a mere executive agreement," read the open letter.

"Second, the offices of our Constitution have different characteristics. For example, the president may serve only two four-year terms, whereas senators may serve an unlimited number of six-year terms."

The open letter also noted that given those two provisions, "we will consider any agreement regarding your nuclear-weapons program that is not approved by the Congress as nothing more than an executive agreement between President Obama and Ayatollah Khamenei."

"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," added the letter.

The open letter was heavily denounced by liberals in the media and Democratic politicians, with some arguing that the senators' actions were treasonous and violated the Logan Act, a federal law from 1799 that forbids unauthorized citizens from engaging in diplomacy.

This included a petition posted at the White House website "We the People," which called for federal prosecution of the signatories of the open letter.

"47 Senators saw fit to instead issue a condescending letter to the Iranian government stating that any agreement brokered by our President would not be upheld once the president leaves office,"

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