Democrats swiftly condemned President TrumpDonald John TrumpSessions unveils ‘zero tolerance’ policy at southern border NY attorney general resigns after allegations of physical abuse Trump Jr. mocks Schneiderman after reports he abused women MORE‘s declaration on Tuesday that he will pull the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal, casting the decision as a perilous abdication of American leadership and a slight against allies.
“With this decision President Trump is risking U.S. national security, recklessly upending foundational partnerships with key U.S. allies in Europe and gambling with Israel’s security,” Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezThe Hill’s Morning Report: Can Trump close the deal with North Korea? Senate must save itself by confirming Mike Pompeo Poll: Menendez has 17-point lead over GOP challenger MORE (D-N.J.), the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement.
“Today’s withdrawal from the [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] makes it more likely Iran will restart its nuclear weapons program in the future.”
Trump had long decried the deal with Iran as a catastrophic capitulation to Tehran, arguing that it ultimately failed to permanently block the Islamic Republic’s path to a nuclear arsenal while still permitting the country to pursue other forms of aggression.
But the president’s announcement on Tuesday that he would formally withdraw from the deal made good on a campaign promise that many U.S. allies, particularly in the West, had tried to dissuade him from.
Sen. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenMenendez admonished by Ethics panel, which says he broke the law Senators look to block F-35 delivery to Turkey over imprisoned American pastor Senators pledge to pursue sanctions against Turkey over imprisoned American pastor MORE (D-N.H.), also a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, ripped Trump’s decision, accusing him of basing the move on “political expediency,” while ultimately undermining long-term security interests.
In pulling out of the pact, Shaheen said, Trump not only ignored the advice of key U.S. allies, but of his own military and foreign policy leaders.
“This decision needlessly discards our only effective means of curtailing Iran’s nuclear capabilities and emboldens hardliners in Iran to resume nuclear weapons activity,” Shaheen said.
House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D’Alesandro PelosiTrump records robocall in support of Renacci ahead of Ohio Senate primary McCarthy: Dems want to ‘capture’ Congress and impeach Trump It’s the Trump economy, stupid MORE (D-Calif.) slammed Trump’s decision as an abdication of U.S. leadership, particularly at a time when the Trump administration is preparing for talks with North Korea over that country’s nuclear program.
“@realDonaldTrump’s decision to abdicate American leadership during a critical moment in our effort to advance a denuclearization agreement with North Korea is particularly senseless, disturbing & dangerous,” Pelosi tweeted.
.@realDonaldTrump’s decision to abdicate American leadership during a critical moment in our effort to advance a denuclearization agreement with North Korea is particularly senseless, disturbing & dangerous.
— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) May 8, 2018
Another member of the Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineWhy war powers need an expiration date Pompeo vote won’t guarantee Democrats a win in November Overnight Defense: VA nominee on the ropes | White House signals it will fight for pick | Trump talks Syria with Macron | McConnell tees up Pompeo vote MORE (D-Va.), declared that Trump’s vision of an “America first” foreign policy had degraded into “America alone,” and accused the president of creating a “new global nuclear crisis.”
“President Trump has set us on a dangerous road where war becomes more likely, especially as his advisers beat the drums for regime change, which should never be a goal of U.S policy,” Kaine said in a statement.
That sentiment was echoed by Senate Minority Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenate Dems urge Trump to remain in Iran deal ahead of announcement ‘Abstinence only’ is the wrong approach to vaping products Message to liberal senators: Don’t meddle with the IRS MORE (D-Ill.), who warned against the prospect of a renewed nuclear threat from Iran.
“The last thing America and the world need right now is a new nuclear threat,” Durbin tweeted.
The last thing America and the world need right now is a new nuclear threat. https://t.co/dCosm1DfJO
— Senator Dick Durbin (@SenatorDurbin) May 8, 2018
Trump had threatened for more than a year to pull out of the nuclear deal. He disavowed the pact in October, but stopped short of an outright withdrawal, demanding instead that negotiators fix what he described as holes in the framework.
The U.S. had repeatedly recertified Iran’s compliance with the 2015 nuclear agreement, acknowledging publicly that Tehran had not begun enriching weapons-grade uranium. Trump, however, insisted that the pact did not go far enough.
Among Trump’s demands were that Iran be barred from manufacturing and testing ballistic missiles, and action be taken to block Tehran’s support for groups designated as terrorist organizations by the U.S., such as Hezbollah in Lebanon. Those efforts were unsuccessful, Trump said.
“It is clear to me that we cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement,” he said at the White House on Tuesday.
Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisKamala Harris pulls out of Berkeley commencement speech in support of employee strike CIA delivers classified materials to Congress on Haspel This week: Senate tees off net neutrality showdown MORE (D-Calif.) cast the president’s decision as one intended to “score political points.” She conceded that the deal was not perfect, but scolded Trump for failing to put forward an alternative proposal.
“This nuclear deal is not perfect, but it is certainly the best existing tool we have to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and avoid a disastrous military conflict in the Middle East,” she said.