NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) was on the hot seat Tuesday night, forced to explain his flip-flop on the Iran nuclear deal.
As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, it has President Donald Trump questioning Schumer’s commitment to Israel.
When it comes to the controversial Iran nuclear deal, Schumer has the distinction of being the man on the wrong side of two presidents. His flip-flop has Trump fuming.
“Dem Senator Schumer hated the Iran deal made by President Obama, but now that I’m involved he is OK with it. Tell that to Israel, Chuck!” Trump tweeted.
“I had a great deal of misgivings about the nuclear deal and voted against it,” Schumer said at a Sunday news conference. “But now we ought to see; give it time to work.”
Schumer’s position is strange to some, because it puts him at odds with many in the Jewish community. They were opposed to the treaty then, they oppose it now, and they were pleased by Trump’s decision not to recertify it.
“Decertification sends a message that the United States, hopefully with other countries as well backing them, will stand up against Iran’s aggressiveness and aggression — which continues unabated,” said Malcolm Hoenlein of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations.
Two years ago, Schumer was agonizingly slow to reach a decision, ducking the question day after day.
Pressed to explain his change of heart, Schumer said he places great weight on the opinions of Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They have said it is in the country’s national security interests to keep the treaty in place.
“The worst things Iran is doing right now are not within the nuclear field, but outside it,” Schumer said Sunday.
He went on, “I think the proper compromise is to increase sanctions on Iran for those non-nuclear areas that don’t violate the (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), such as ICBMs; such as funding, building and supplying rockets to Hezbollah and Lebanon and other places, and fomenting terrorism in Yemen.”
Schumer wants Trump to enact bipartisan sanctions passed by Congress that call for an arms embargo against Iran, ballistic missile sanctions, and new terrorism sanctions against the revolutionary guard. The sanctions bill passed the Senate 98-2.