Tags: Nancy Pelosi | Syria trip | GOP | Iran letter

Pelosi Scoffs at Comparison of Her Syria Trip to GOP's Iran Letter

Image: Pelosi Scoffs at Comparison of Her Syria Trip to GOP's Iran Letter
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad shakes hands with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in Damascus April 4, 2007. (SANA/Reuters/Landov)

By    |   Thursday, 12 Mar 2015 10:56 AM

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is refuting claims by conservatives that the Republicans' recent letter to the Iranians was similar to her 2007 meeting with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in defiance of the Bush administration, The Hill reported.

Pelosi insists that her trip was a bipartisan effort to negotiate a peace deal and says that the criticism is merely an attempt to deflect negative attention from the letter to Iran.

"The desperate hyperventilation by Republicans and conservative talkers over the intense, national backlash to this letter has caused them to search for a Democratic equivalent to the dangerous precedent set by 47 Republican Senators," said Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill, according to The Hill. "The fact is, there is simply not one."

In an open letter Monday to the leaders of Iran, Republican lawmakers warned that any nuclear deal they agree on with President Barack Obama could expire when he leaves office. The letter was seen as an attempt to make it more difficult for Obama and five world powers to strike an initial agreement by the end of March to limit Iran's nuclear program, which Tehran insists is for peaceful purposes.

The letter has resulted in a backlash from Democrats and some Republicans who say it may only put the United States in a worse position if the nuclear talks fail.

"I just didn't feel that it was appropriate or productive at this point," Arizona GOP Sen. Jeff Flake said, according to The Hill. "These are tough enough negotiations as it stands, and introducing this kind of letter I didn't think would be helpful."

But Republicans have defended the letter and compared it to Pelosi's trip.

"To those upset about #Iran letter, how did you feel when Pelosi went to Syria in 2007 to meet face to face with Assad, against WH wishes?" South Carolina GOP Sen. Tim Scott said in a tweet Tuesday, according to The Hill.

Pelosi, who was Speaker of the House at the time, met with Assad when the Bush administration opposed direct talks with the Syrian leader.

Her visit was widely criticized. Pat Buchanan, the former Republican presidential candidate said at the time that it was a "thumb in the eye of the president of the United States."

Then-Vice President Dick Cheney said that it was "bad behavior on her part."

"She doesn't represent the administration. The president is the one who conducts foreign policy, not the Speaker of the House," Cheney said, according to The Hill.

Hammill insisted that Pelosi's trip had been coordinated by the Bush administration.

"This visit was organized by the Bush State Department, executed by the Bush Defense Department, and officials from the Bush Administration's Embassy at the time in Damascus even sat in on the meeting with President Assad," Hammill said, according to The Hill.

"As Republican Congressman David Hobson said at the time about the delegation's visit to Syria, 'I think we actually helped the administration's position by showing there's not dissension.'

He added: "The comparison between the Republican Senator letter to Iran and Leader Pelosi's bipartisan delegation to the Middle East in 2007 does not stand up to any level of scrutiny."

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is refuting claims by conservatives that the Republicans' recent letter to the Iranians was similar to her 2007 meeting with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in defiance of the Bush administration, The Hill reported.
Nancy Pelosi, Syria trip, GOP, Iran letter
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2015-56-12
Thursday, 12 Mar 2015 10:56 AM
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