Republicans Brace For Backfire On Iran Letter, Turn Against Colleagues Who Signed It

Much like everything the Republicans do – shutdowns, phony scandals, Obama hating – the Iran letter is already making some members of the GOP fear a major backlash for trying to undermine the President.

Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he declined Senator Tom Cotton’s offer to sign the notorious letter, and in doing so would be among very few of his caucus to do so:

“I knew it was going to be only Republicans on [the letter]. I just don’t view that as where I need to be today. My goal is to get 67 or more people on something that will affect the outcome.”

In other words, he knew this would turn into a partisan nightmare for his party, and would stain any legitimacy the GOP might have when it comes to dealing with Iran. Instead of undermining President Obama in possibly treasonous ways, he would rather go through the proper process in the Senate.

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), echoed Corker, stating that the Senators who signed the letter didn’t follow etiquette and instead should have consulted with Secretary of State John Kerry or President Obama, not undermine them:

“It’s more appropriate for members of the Senate to give advice to the president, to Secretary Kerry and to the negotiators. I don’t think that the ayatollah is going to be particularly convinced by a letter from members of the Senate, even one signed by a number of my distinguished and high ranking colleagues.”

Senator John McCain, who signed the letter, backtracked recently on the signing, saying that it maybe wasn’t the best idea. His defense? He signs a lot of letters:

“It’s [the letter] also symptomatic between the total lack of trust that exists now between we Republicans and the president. This has established a poisoned environment here which sometimes causes us to react maybe in not the most effective fashion.”

“Maybe that wasn’t the best way to do that, but I think the Iranians should know that the Congress of the United States has to play a role in whether an agreement of this magnitude.”

“Maybe” it wasn’t the best thing to do. Maybe it looks bad that his colleague, Senator Jeff Flake, the other senator from Arizona, didn’t sign it and he did. Maybe he sees that there is huge backlash from this and is trying to save his own behind as he braces for a re-election bid in 2016. That might have something to do with it.

Republican Representative Peter King from New York bashed the Senators for politicizing the issue saying he believes in a “strong presidency” and expressed his own doubts about the letter:

“I believe in a strong presidency. “I don’t know if I would have signed the letter. I don’t trust the president on this, quite frankly, though I don’t know if I’d go public with it to a foreign government.”

King also asserted that the letter sets a “terrible precedent” for lawmaking.

In an open poll for The Washington Post, when people were asked “By sending a letter to the government of Iran, did Republicans go too far?”, an astonishing 93% of over 7,000 responses answered with Yes, the Republican senators crossed the line. They’ve undermined the White House and the nuclear talks.

Image via Mark Warner