In Lebanon, The Daily Star reported ambassador David Hale met them at the airport and they also met with the country's justice minister, and faith-based non-governmental groups and Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, whom we last wrote about when he was here in 2008, visiting with top Bush administration officials. We noted then that he was "a hard-line Lebanese Christian militia leader back in the nasty old days when those militias were slaughtering one another and assassinating rival leaders. Geagea had been linked in the media to a number of civil-war-era killings, including those of a pro-Syrian prime minister and a prominent Christian politician." But by 2008, he was a "statesman," so now he's a "leader." In Tripoli, the delegation was briefed at the embassy on the general situation in Libya and, of course, on Benghazi and they met with a number of senior Libyan officials. In Cairo, they met with military coup leader Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Sissi and interim President Adly Mansour, according to the Daily News Egypt, and talked about the regime's "road map" to elections.
Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), and Steve King (R-Iowa) may not be racking up legislative accomplishments, but they are racking up frequent flier miles.
We talked last week about the right-wing trio traveling to Libya for unknown reasons, but as it turns out, I understated the case. The Washington Post's Al Kamen reports that Bachmann, Gohmert, and King also visited Beirut and Cairo as part of the same trip. (They even ignored a travel warning from the U.S. embassy to travel to Tripoli.)
To be sure, there's no accusation here about members of Congress going on some taxpayer-funded boondoggle. On the contrary, by all accounts, the trio flew commercial.
But to reiterate last week's point, there's just something unsettling about these three taking their show on the road in volatile, highly sensitive geo-political areas.
Indeed, as we discussed, we already know with certainty that right-wing conspiracy theories, spouted by Bachmann and Gohmert in particular, can actually influence international events. Sure, Americans know these members of Congress are not to be taken seriously, but when the trio shows up for meetings in three Middle Eastern countries, has anyone passed relevant officials a note saying, "Just smile and nod; these folks are bonkers"?
As for the members themselves, none of the trio have so much as issued a press release about the regional sojourn.