Transcript of Senator Reid's floor speech:
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- As Khamenei's health falters, the race for Iran’s next supreme leader heats up
- Iranian FM says GOP letter on nuclear deal suggests U.S. is 'not trustworthy'
- Democrats denounce GOP letter threatening to scrap Iran deal after Obama leaves office
- Hardliner elected head of influential body that will pick Iran's next leader
- Hillary Clinton blasts U.S. Republicans over Iran nuclear letter
(Scroll for the full clip)
Senator Harry Reid (D-NV): As I speak here today, the President and his Administration are engaged in negotiations to prevent Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon. These negotiations are unprecedented and very critical to our country and the world. The stakes could not be higher. We as leaders should do everything we can to ensure these negotiations have a chance to succeed. When it comes to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear bomb, we should put partisanship aside.
Sadly, though, the judgment of my Republican colleagues seems to be clouded by their abhorrence of President Obama. Today Republican senators sent a letter to the Iranian regime’s leaders aimed at sabotaging these negotiations. Let’s be clear – Republicans are undermining our Commander-in-Chief while empowering the Ayatollahs. Just last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was here in the Capitol decrying the evil intent of Iranian leadership. And yet today, Senate Republicans are trying to negotiate with those very same leaders in Iran? This simply doesn’t make any sense.
The outcome of the negotiations between the U.S., France, the United Kingdom, Germany, China and Russia will affect the entire world. But it is unprecedented for one political party to directly intervene in an international negotiation, with the sole goal of embarrassing the President.
We should always have a robust debate about our foreign policy. This is a hard slap in the face of not only the United States and the world. This is not a time to undermine our Commander-in-Chief purely out of spite. Throughout the 8 years of George W. Bush’s presidency, I disagreed with his foreign policy. I spoke about it on the floor lots of time. We know the disaster of the war in Iraq. But even at the height of our disagreements with President George W. Bush, Senate Democrats never considered sending a letter to Saddam Hussein. It would have been an embarrassment to the Commander-in-Chief, George W. Bush.
So I say to my Republican colleagues, do you so dislike President Obama that you would take this extraordinary step? Barack Obama is the President. I have agreed with him on certain things and I have disagreed with him on certain things, but he is my President and he is your President. It is time for Republicans to accept that the citizens of our country have twice elected President Obama by large margins.
Obviously Republicans don’t know how to do anything other than attempt these seemingly juvenile political attacks against the President. Congressional Republicans don’t know how to get things done. They don’t know how to govern. If you don’t believe me, just read a newspaper. Look at the news. The pundits all agree that the Republicans are in a state of disarray here in the Congress of the United States. They don’t know what to do or how to do it.
Today’s unprecedented letter, originated by a United States Senator who took his oath of office merely 62 days ago, is the kind of pettiness that diminishes us as a country in the eyes of the world. Republicans need to find a way to get over their animosity of President Obama. I can only hope they do it sooner rather than later.