From the moment it looked even slightly possible that President Donald Trump might be willing to consider walking away from the Iran deal launched by his predecessor, former Obama administration officials and other Democrats (along with many in the mainstream media, but I repeat myself) have worked themselves into a tizzy about the shocking idea that one president might have different policies than another president.
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) exposed the shallowness of this fauxtrage in a short statement he issued today (emphasis and spacing added):
The Iran deal has always been terrible. Today is a reminder that if you live by the Presidency, you die by the Presidency.
We ought to be clear about this: Donald Trump isn’t ripping up a treaty; he’s walking away from Barack Obama’s personal pledge. Two and a half years ago, President Obama made a bad deal with Iran without support from Congress, and today President Trump is pulling out of President Obama’s personal commitment, and he doesn’t need Congress’s support to do so.
American foreign policy makes lasting progress when it is led by the President, approved by Congress, and presented honestly to the American people.
The Iran deal was never a “treaty.” Congress never voted to approve it. It was Obama’s “personal commitment,” as Sasse described it, and it had no binding power past the moment Trump took the oath of office.
Unlike tinpot dictatorships like Venezuela’s Maduro or the Castros in Cuba (don’t let the different last name fool you — Miguel Díaz-Canel was handpicked by Raúl Castro and is most assuredly a continuation of that oppressive regime), America expects its heads of state to honor term limits. Iran’s mullahs had no reasonable expectation to trust a promise made by Obama would last past January 20, 2017 — especially after Hillary Clinton lost the election.
“You live by the Presidency, you die by the Presidency,” as Sasse put it. Trump would be well advised to keep that in mind as his administration moves forward with their own policies regarding Iran, and consult with Congress for their approval — at least if he has hopes of a lasting legacy on this issue.
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker.