Vice President Joe Biden came out swinging in a strongly-worded statement late on Monday regarding the preemptive strike of 47 Republican senators against a potential nuclear deal with Iran.
The GOP lawmakers all signed onto a letter released Monday saying their would reject any diplomatic agreement reached between the Obama administration and Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali 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,” they wrote.
Biden, who prior to getting elected vice president served over three decades in the Senate, said he was deeply offended by the stance some of his former colleagues took. “The letter sent on March 9th by forty-seven Republican Senators to the Islamic Republic of Iran, expressly designed to undercut a sitting president in the midst of sensitive international negotiations, is beneath the dignity of an institution I revere,” he said in a statement late on Monday.
The vice president’s statement echoed similar sentiments expressed by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest during a press briefing on Monday. He described the letter “as the continuation of a partisan strategy to undermine the president’s ability to conduct foreign policy and advance our national security interests around the globe.”
“The rush to war or at least the rush to the military option that many Republicans are advocating is not at all in the best interest of the United States,” he also told reporters.
Still, for Biden, this was personal. He wrote, “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.”
“Honorable people can disagree over policy. But this is no way to make America safer or stronger,” he added.
Other senators who signed on included Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and presidential hopefuls Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky.
Only seven Senate Republicans decided not to sign the document, including Lamar Alexander, Dan Coats, Thad Cochran, Susan Collins, Bob Corker, Jeff Flake, and Lisa Murkowski.
“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,” Biden wrote. “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.”
He added: “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.”
Additional reporting by Michele Richinick