Republicans Wednesday slammed President Barack Obama for comparing those in Congress who opposed the Tehran nuclear deal to Iranian hardliners, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell challenging the president to “retract his bizarre and preposterous comments.”
“These Democrats and Republicans deserved serious answers today, not some outrageous attempt to equate their search for answers with supporting chants of ‘death to America,'” the Kentucky Republican said. “I imagine the Democrats who’ve already come out against this agreement will be especially insulted by it.”
Three key Democrats said Tuesday that they opposed the deal struck last month with Tehran.
“This goes way over the line of civil discourse,” McConnell said. “Defenders of the president’s deal with Iran should reject this offensive rhetoric.”
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called it a “defensive speech” and accused Obama of “fear-mongering.”
“President Obama’s shameful fear-mongering doesn’t change the fact he and Hillary Clinton negotiated a deal that never ultimately blocks Iran’s pathway to a nuclear weapon,” he said. “That’s why the American people, and many top Democrats, oppose this dangerous agreement.”
GOP presidential candidate Scott Walker pledged to purge the deal, which would bring Tehran billions of dollars that have been held up through years of crippling economic sanctions, should he be elected to the White House next year.
“President Obama could give 100 speeches attempting to justify his appeasement of the rogue Iranian regime — and it wouldn’t change a thing,” the Wisconsin governor said. “The truth is, the Obama-Clinton bad deal with Iran jeopardizes American safety and that of our allies, especially Israel.
“That’s why, as president, I would terminate this disastrous agreement on day one.”
In his speech at American University in Washington that lasted nearly an hour, Obama warned that no deal with Iran would put the United States on the path toward another Mideast war.
He blasted Israel as the lone country standing against the agreement, saying “I believe he is wrong” of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s fierce opposition to the agreement.
The president also equated GOP members who opposed the accord with Iranian hardliners who have called for America’s destruction.
“In fact, it’s those hardliners who are most comfortable with the status quo,” Obama said. “It’s those hardliners chanting ‘death to America’ who have been most opposed to the deal.
“They’re making common cause with the Republican caucus,” the president said.
Republicans Wednesday were biting in their attacks on Obama’s speech.
“President Obama’s speech is just another example of his reliance on endless strawmen to divert attention from his failed policies,” said Arizona Sen. John McCain and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. “It is particularly galling to hear the president try to defend his nuclear agreement by claiming that its critics also supported the war in Iraq.”
Both sit on the Senate Armed Services Committee, which McCain chairs. Graham also is running for the White House.
“Having presided over the collapse of our hard-won gains in Iraq, the rise of the most threatening terrorist army in the world, the most devastating civil war and humanitarian catastrophe in generations in Syria, the spread of conflict and radicalism across the Middle East and much of Africa, a failed reset with Russia, and escalating cyberattacks and other acts of aggression for which our adversaries pay no price, the president should not throw stones from his glass house,” the senators said.
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