Anyone who needs one more reason not to trust today’s Democrats needs to look no further than Sen. Chris Murphy.
But when it’s suited his purposes, he’s also gone out of his way to criticize interference in a president’s foreign policy outside regular outside channels — unless the president being interfered with is Donald Trump and the guy who wants to interfere is Sen. Chris Murphy.
As hypocrisy goes, it’s tough to beat.
Back in the early months of 2017, Murphy was one of the loudest voices calling for Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn to resign following reports that he’d met with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak before Trump was sworn into office.
That would make Flynn party to conducting foreign policy outside the Obama administration’s control, which the Chris Murphy of 2017 thought was appalling.
“Any effort to undermine our nation’s foreign policy — even during a transition period — may be illegal and must be taken seriously,” a self-righteous Murphy stated in a news release issued by his office.
That was then, this is now.
Thanks to reporting by The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway on Monday, Americans are aware that Murphy took advantage of his attendance at the annual Munich Security Conference over the weekend in Germany to participate in a secret meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.
Hemingway reported the meeting Monday, citing a source who’d been “briefed by the French delegation to the conference.”
Murphy’s office would not comment on the report — in fact, “tried to stonewall” sounds like a good way of putting it — until Tuesday, when the good senator released a description of it as part of a Medium post about the rest of his activities on the trip.
— The Federalist (@FDRLST) February 18, 2020
(There’s no way of knowing for sure, but it’s at least possible that, without Hemingway’s reporting, Murphy might never have told Americans — his fellow citizens — about his meeting with a top official of a country that has been at war with the United States for more than 40 years now.)
In the Medium post, and in self-serving tones that would be embarrassing to any non-politician, Murphy first acknowledged using his participation in a public forum at the conference to be publicly critical of the Trump administration’s Middle East policy of confronting the murderous mullahs of Iran — the senator apparently still wants to resurrect the Obama-era appeasement of the Iran nuclear deal.
1/ Attached is my usual account of my latest trip abroad, this one to Ukraine and Munich.
I met w the Iranian Foriegn Minister in Munich. It’s dangerous not to talk to adversaries, esp amidst a cycle of escalation.
Quick thread on what I told Zarif.https://t.co/2oYjiXfZ7J
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) February 18, 2020
“I am the sole U.S. figure on the panel, and I use the spotlight to make the case that the overriding U.S. interest in the region should not be trying to help Saudi Arabia gain preeminence over Iran, as is the policy priority under Trump,” Murphy wrote. “Our goal instead should be reducing, not ramping up, tensions between these two regional powers, not on trying to make sure one side eventually prevails.”
Now, that might be a discussion worth having on the floor of the Senate, or maybe from Murphy’s perch as ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but making that point in a room full of officials from other countries — some of them potentially deadly adversaries of the United States — comes a little close to trying to conduct a foreign policy separate from the one decided on by the president of the United States.
And if a public speech denigrating Trump’s foreign policy is bad, how does a secret meeting, conducted in a hotel room with no prying eyes, sound?
In his Medium post, Murphy claimed he had three goals: to see if there would be more violence stemming from the U.S. airstrike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani; to convince Zarif that Iran should stop helping rebels in Yemen; and to win the freedom of Americans being held prisoner by Iran.
“I don’t know whether my visit with Zarif will make a difference,” Murphy wrote. “I’m not the President or the Secretary of State — I’m just a rank and file U.S. Senator. I cannot conduct diplomacy on behalf of the whole of the U.S. government, and I don’t pretend to be in a position to do so. But if Trump isn’t going to talk to Iran, then someone should. And Congress is a co-equal branch of government, responsible along with the Executive for setting foreign policy. A lack of dialogue leaves nations guessing about their enemy’s intentions, and guessing wrong can lead to catastrophic mistakes.”
Actually, that sounds like someone making an extraordinary effort to — in the words of Chris Murphy in 2017 — “undermine our nation’s foreign policy.”
A “lack of dialogue” between nations isn’t nearly as big a problem as an arch-rival like Iran hearing different messages from different officials — a message of strength from the Trump White House and what is all too likely a message of craven, cowardly appeasement from Democrats.
Murphy’s adventure drew scorn on social media.
The same Murphy who wants Flynn in jail for taking a call with Russia.
— Peter DeGiglio (@PeterDeGiglio) February 18, 2020
So I guess the next step is to spin up the counter intelligence investigation, FISA application, arrange for an informal chat, leak to friendly press, modify the 302, begin questioning his loyalty to the country & come back with a process crime #IranianPuppet #IranianStooge
— Ralph Kramden (@tout_le_monde1) February 18, 2020
So, how can the president trust Democrats with his plans to defeat a terrorist regime, attacking Americans in harm's way, when they are colluding with the enemy behind his back?
— Michael Harwell (@MikeHarwell66) February 18, 2020
And it doesn’t make anything look better that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo knew nothing about Murphy’s decision to hobnob in private with a top official of one of his own country’s most bitter adversaries on the world stage.
“If they met, I don’t know what they said,” Pompeo said at a news conference Tuesday, according to The Federalist. “I hope they were reinforcing America’s foreign policy and not their own.”
Yes, the rest of the country would hope so, too.
But the reality of the past three years hasn’t been encouraging.
The endless “Russia collusion” hoax turned up empty, but not before acting as a shadow over the White House for years.
Former Secretary of State John Kerry has been known to have been conducting meetings with Iranian officials — as a private citizen — and actually suggested to Fox News’ Dana Perino in 2018 that it was possible he was giving a message to Iran to “wait out Trump.”
And, of course, the farce of a presidential impeachment over military aid withheld to Ukraine gets more ludicrous with every passing day.
Now comes Sen. Chris Murphy, secretly meeting with the Iranian foreign minister and putting a brave public face on it when word of the meeting got out.
Democrats have given Americans an infuriatingly long list of reasons for Americans not to trust them since Nov. 8, 2016.
Chris Murphy just gave us one more.
Author: Joe Saunders