Democratic Senators won't say whether they're attending
Josh Rogin and Eli Lake report that many Democratic Senators, who feel caught between their loyalty to Barack Hussein Obama and their duties to their voters, are not saying whether they will attend
Prime Minister Netanyahu's address to a joint session of Congress next Tuesday.
We spoke with almost a dozen Democratic Senators Tuesday who said
they still haven’t decided. Among them is Senate Intelligence Committee
ranking member Dianne Feinstein of California, who wrote a letter (with
Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin of Illinois) Monday to Netanyahu
asking him to meet Democrats separately in their offices while he is
“I won’t make a decision on that for a while,” she told us, insisting
there was no organized Democratic boycott. “But it does mean that I
would like an opportunity to sit down and talk to him rather than
listening to a speech of red lines. It isn’t a boycott, it's individuals
making up their own minds. There is no boycott.”
Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, the ranking Democrat on the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee subcommittee that covers the Middle
East, told us Tuesday he also is still weighing whether to attend the
speech and he acknowledged that he is getting calls from his supporters
in Connecticut encouraging him to go.
“I haven’t decided yet. This is a breach of protocol not a breach of
policy, so I’m still trying to make sure I’m not making more of this
than it deserves to be,” he said. “A lot of us are very angry and I
think we’ve got to figure out how serious of an issue this really is.”
Democratic Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia declined to say whether he
would attend: “I think the speech should be postposed. I’m just going to
leave it there for now.”
Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey wouldn't say anything on the
matter. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon said he was “expecting to” attend
but wasn’t 100 percent sure. Senator Chris Coons of Delaware said he
would make up his mind after meeting with the Israeli ambassador.
Nonetheless, many Democratic leaders have signaled they will attend.
The list includes House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, House Minority
Whip Steny Hoyer and, if he is physically able while recovering from
surgery, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid. Senator Chuck Schumer of New
York, Senate Foreign Relations Committee ranking Democrat Robert
Menendez of New Jersey and Senate Armed Services Committee member Bill
Nelson of Florida will also be there.
It's tough having to answer to your constituents, isn't it? Here's a prediction: In the end, other than the Congressional Black Caucus and some of the more virulent J Street recipients, every last one of the Democrats will show up. They're not going to risk their seats to satisfy an unpopular President who is in the second half of his second term.
Labels: Barack Hussein Obama, Binyamin Netanyahu, Charles Schumer, Dianne Feinstein, Dick Durbin, Iranian nuclear threat, J Street, joint session of Congress, Nancy Pelosi, Robert Menendez