GOP Lawmakers Appreciate Trump’s Investment in ME Peace
WASHINGTON – The White House confirmed on Thursday that President Donald Trump’s first foreign trip would include stops this month in Israel and the West Bank city of Bethlehem as the GOP leader continues his effort to broker Middle East peace. While some Republican Members of Congress were highly critical of former President Barack Obama’s administration’s investment in the peace process, including the 2013-2014 nine month negotiations led by Secretary of State John Kerry, they praised Trump for his current activism in promoting Israeli-Palestinian peace.
When asked about Trump’s trip, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) told Jewish Insider, “Clearly, it’s a powerful statement. President Trump is trying to develop the conditions for authentic relationships not just carrying forward the baggage of the past in some of the most intractable problems the world is facing.” The Nebraska lawmaker warned about the dangers of inappropriate handling of this sensitive issue. “If we don’t get this right and lean into this and for some reason the Middle East would collapse, not only is that a grave injustice to the people there but it has implications for the future of all humanity… Anytime there is an attempt at better and deeper and real conversation, it’s helpful.”
Trump met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House on Wednesday and his meeting with him later this month in the West Bank shows a high level of engagement for a leader, which many Republican Senators have repeatedly critiqued. The US President’s meeting with his Palestinian counterpart is “good and showing respect to Abbas. Abbas is central to any kind of peace deal,” noted Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC). “As a Christian, I can only hope he can write Art of the Deal II.”
However, some Democrats were critical of Trump’s upcoming trip. “I guess when he can’t get any of his domestic programs done, it’s good to go overseas. Certainly, we have heard nothing about infrastructure,” explained Rep Donald Norcross (D-NJ). “For somebody who during the campaign who was almost solely focused on Making America Great Again and bringing jobs home, he seems to be spending a lot of time focused abroad and not dealing with infrastructure which is jobs. We would much rather him focus on issues of domestic jobs than traveling around the world.”
Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA) added about the President’s upcoming visit, “I don’t have any expectations. I’m glad that he would pick those countries and any positive outreach that he does. I’m very skeptical. He doesn’t have a good comprehension on foreign affairs and doesn’t do his homework.”