On Tuesday night, during his first official State of The Union address, President Donald Trump recounted the successes of his administration throughout his first year in office, while also laying forth a vision for potential areas of action to address in 2018.
While outlining several foreign policy victories of the past year, Trump stated:
“Last month, I also took an action endorsed unanimously by the Senate just months before: I recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”
Yet when members of Congress and others in attendance stood to applaud this decision, a noticeable group remained stone-faced and silent: the entire Democratic caucus.
Now, it really isn’t surprising that the Democrats would not stand for Jerusalem. Throughout the entire speech, the partisan divide in the room was clearly evident, as many Democrats declined to stand to applaud seemingly non-partisan statements about low unemployment rates, paid family leave, and the phrase “In God we Trust.” I mean, a few went so far as to refuse to applaud Trump’s line about standing for our own National Anthem! So no, it is not surprising in the least that the Democrats did not stand for Jerusalem. But it is absolutely shameful.
Make no mistake: this major policy decision should not be a partisan issue. Over the past few decades, several U.S. Presidents have vowed to move the Israeli embassy to Jerusalem, including both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. In 1995, the Senate approved the Jerusalem Embassy Act by an overwhelming 93-5 vote to initiate the process of moving the embassy. More recently, just last summer, the Senate unanimously approved a resolution by a 90-0 vote which directed the President to abide by the 1995 bill. Clearly, there has been strong bipartisan support for the embassy move over the past few decades.
Yet for years, Presidents of both parties have failed to deliver on this promise. That is, until Donald Trump acted on it. Let me be clear: I am not asking the Democrat Party to embrace Trump by any means. If it is their prerogative, Democrats can vigorously oppose the Trump agenda in any legal way that they please. They can hold rallies, conduct filibusters, and vote against key pieces of legislation. It is their right to do so. But for Democrats not to applaud this embassy move, something which they have overwhelming voted for and have promised to accomplish for years, simply because it was carried out by President Trump, is the height of hypocrisy.
I exhort the Democrats to stand by their promise, and to work with the President to strengthen our alliance with the only democracy in the Middle East. And when progress is made, and policies are enacted which are in line with views they have espoused for decades, not a single Democrat should allow partisanship to cloud their judgement of the President’s actions. Israel deserves better than that. The American people deserve better than that. Shame on the Democrats for not standing for Israel.
Josh Kutner is a Freshman Representative for the GW College Republicans. The opinions expressed on this blog are his own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official views of the GW College Republicans.