Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, called the withdrawal a “mistake of historic proportions.”
“The last thing America and the world need right now is a new nuclear threat. Breaking this deal increases the danger that Iran will restart its nuclear weapons program, which threatens our ally, Israel, and destabilizes the entire Middle East,” he said in a statement. “It isolates the United States from the world at a time when we need our allies to come together to address nuclear threats elsewhere, particularly in Korea. This is a mistake of historic proportions.”
Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a statement that such a move drives “a wedge between us and our allies.”
“Simply withdrawing the United States from the JCPOA will not benefit the American people and US national security: it will only succeed in driving a wedge between us and our allies, whose help we need to enforce any future sanctions regime against Iran, and will effectively green light Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons,” he said in the statement. “Withdrawing from this agreement makes the United States, and the world, less secure.”
And House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called Tuesday a “sad day” because of the announcement.
“Democrats have no illusions about the Iranian regime. We remain strongly committed to stopping the advancement of Iran’s ballistic missile program, its egregious human rights abuses, and its support of terrorism and other nefarious activities in the region. Today is a sad day for America’s global leadership,” she said in a statement. “The Trump Administration’s dangerous and impulsive action is no substitute for real global leadership.”
Just before the announcement, Democratic members prepared themselves for reports that Trump was planning to begin exiting the deal.
While members cautioned they wanted to know exactly what Trump would do before commenting, Bob Menendez, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said it was “a huge mistake to withdraw without a plan.”
“I think it’s a huge mistake to break away without important allies and I think it is another mistake to have no strategy to deal with all of Iran’s nefarious activities especially without allies,” Menendez said.
Menendez warned that Congress needed to consider intervening if it could.
“That’s something we need to think about,” Menendez said.
Sen. Tim Kaine, another member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told CNN that it would be problematic if Trump renewed sanctions.
“I think he will be driving the wedge between the United States and our European allies,” Kaine said.
This story will be updated.