Obama officials invited legislators to the White House last week to assure them that when it comes to foreign policy, the president knows what he’s doing.
Only that wasn’t the impression most of them got. Our own Senator Bob Corker called it “one of the most bizarre I’ve attended,” according to the AP.
Typical of that news organization they didn’t ask him to expand on what made it bizarre. Here’s their account:
White House officials have been holding private meetings this week aimed at soothing lawmakers’ concerns over the U.S. posture in Syria, the future of the American military presence in Afghanistan and defense spending. The meetings come as a frustrated White House seeks to push back at criticism of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy.
But the White House outreach appeared to be having little effect on some lawmakers’ concerns.
Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, described Tuesday night’s White House meeting with chief of staff Denis McDonough and national security adviser Susan Rice as “one of the most bizarre I’ve attended.”
Another senator who attended the meeting said Obama’s advisers refused to provide lawmakers with answers about whether the president plans to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan after the war formally concludes later this year or about the Pentagon’s efforts to find nearly 300 kidnapped Nigerian school girls.
Unsatisfied, some of the lawmakers started to leave one by one before the meeting had finished. The senator and three congressional aides briefed on the meeting insisted on anonymity to discuss the private talks.
The meetings, which have been taking place both at the White House and on Capitol Hill, come as Obama prepares for a speech Wednesday at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, where he is expected to try to answer critics who say he has surrendered America’s global leadership and faltered on problems in the Middle East, Russia, China and beyond.
McDonough and Rice met at the White House on Monday night with about a dozen House Democrats. On Tuesday, officials invited 14 senators — three of them were Republicans — to the White House for a discussion on foreign policy over wine, beer, and a cheese and cracker platter on the patio outside of McDonough’s office.
Among the Democrats who attended the Tuesday meeting were New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Michigan Sen. Carl Levin; and Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed. The three Republicans who attended were Corker, Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake and Maine Sen. Susan Collins.
A White House official said six Republicans were invited to the meeting, but half did not attend.
The president did not drop by the White House meeting, surprising the senators. White House officials cast the meetings as part of their effort to step up engagement with lawmakers who long have complained about feeling out of the loop regarding the president’s decision-making.
Obama said, “You hit singles, you hit doubles. Every once in a while we may be able to hit a home run,” Obama said. “But we steadily advance the interests of the American people and our partnership with folks around the world.”
Sheesh! What a cheesy remark. Foreign policy? What foreign policy? What we have is so full of holes it’s like Swiss cheese. We’re on our way to becoming cheese eating surrender monkeys under his leadership so I guess it shouldn’t have surprised Corker that that was what was served up to them.
Why didn’t the AP ask Corker what he meant by that remark? Guess they don’t really want to know or want us to know.