Congressman’s Unacceptable Comments About President Obama Crossed a Line

August 23, 2016

J Street calls on Representative Lee Zeldin (R-NY1) to retract and apologize for the outrageous remarks in which he appears to accuse President Obama of dual loyalty and traitorous activity.

In a press release issued on Wednesday, Rep. Zeldin incorrectly and misleadingly characterized the negotiated return of $400 million of frozen Iranian assets as a “cash ransom” and said that “When deals like this are cut, one has to truly wonder whether the President has no idea what he is doing, or if he knows exactly what he is doing and is playing for some other team. [Italics added]”

The thinly veiled insinuation that President Obama is acting out of loyalty to some entity outside the United States is appalling and unbecoming for a member of the United States Congress. It echoes the very worst aspects of the “birther” conspiracy that Donald Trump and others have peddled in an effort to delegitimize and undermine the presidency and leadership of Barack Obama.

Elected officials have and will continue to have disagreements over the merits of the Iran nuclear deal and the President’s foreign policy. But when those disagreements move beyond the realm of reasoned argument and become attacks on the basic integrity and loyalty of the President, an inviolable line has been crossed.

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