In the wake of 47 Republican Senators writing and signing a letter to Iran’s leaders in a treasonous attempt to sabotage Obama’s nuclear peace deal negotiations, Vice President Joe Biden released a statement blasting his conservative colleagues for undermining President Barack Obama and his administration.
In a scathing statement, Biden flat-out calls the Republican Party’s letter as “beneath the dignity of an institution I revere” and an insulting stunt “designed to undercut a sitting president.”
The letter to Tehran, which was written on Sunday, tried to “warn” Iran’s leaders that if a nuclear deal was made with the Obama administration, it would likely be revoked and challenged by Congress as soon as Obama’s presidency is over. In response to the Republicans’ childish and attention-seeking ways, Biden released this statement, which in part reads:
“This letter, in the guise of a constitutional lesson, ignores two centuries of precedent and threatens to undermine the ability of any future American president, whether Democrat or Republican, to negotiate with other nations on behalf of the United States.”
“In thirty-six years in the United States Senate, I cannot recall another instance in which Senators wrote directly to advise another country — much less a longtime foreign adversary — that the President does not have the constitutional authority to reach a meaningful understanding with them. This letter sends a highly misleading signal to friend and foe alike that that our Commander-in-Chief cannot deliver on America’s commitments — a message that is as false as it is dangerous.
The decision to undercut our President and circumvent our constitutional system offends me as a matter of principle. As a matter of policy, the letter and its authors have also offered no viable alternative to the diplomatic resolution with Iran that their letter seeks to undermine.”
Biden, who used to serve as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also saved a few choice words for the letter’s author, Republican Sen. Tom Cotton. Knowing exactly where to place blame, Biden said:
“The author of this letter has been explicit that he is seeking to take any action that will end President Obama’s diplomatic negotiations with Iran. But to what end? If talks collapse because of Congressional intervention, the United States will be blamed, leaving us with the worst of all worlds. Iran’s nuclear program, currently frozen, would race forward again. We would lack the international unity necessary just to enforce existing sanctions, let alone put in place new ones. Without diplomacy or increased pressure, the need to resort to military force becomes much more likely — at a time when our forces are already engaged in the fight against ISIL.”
In the end, all the Republicans have done with their letter is make themselves look extremely immature and unserious. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif could even see right through it and referred to the letter a “propaganda ploy.” Zarif said:
“I wish to enlighten the authors that if the next administration revokes any agreement ‘with the stroke of a pen’ … it will have simply committed a blatant violation of international law.”
On Tuesday morning, Tom Cotton responded to Biden on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe, claiming that he and his fellow conservatives were “simply speaking for the American people” and that the Vice President knows absolutely nothing about foreign policy:
“Joe Biden, as Barack Obama’s own secretary of defense has said, has been wrong about nearly every foreign policy and national security decision in the last 40 years. Moreover, if Joe Biden respects the dignity of the institution of the Senate he should be insisting that the president submit any deal to approval of the Senate, which is exactly what he did on numerous deals during his time in Senate.”
Cotton also insulted Iran’s leaders by saying they don’t understand the way the United States constitution works:
“The point we’re making to Iran’s leaders — who, if you talk to many of the Iran experts, will say don’t understand our Constitution — is that if Congress doesn’t approve a deal, Congress won’t accept a deal. Now or in the future.”
From all directions, it looks like the Republicans are the ones that have zero concept of how our Constitution works. They can’t accept that Pres. Obama is in office, nor the fact that they look incredibly foolish after their letter backfired gloriously.
You can read Biden’s full statement to the Republican signers here, but this sentence about the GOP’s behavior probably sums it up best:
“Honorable people can disagree over policy. But this is no way to make America safer or stronger.”
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.