WASHINGTON – Two presidential hopefuls, Senator Ted Cruz and real estate mogul Donald Trump, joined forces with other leaders to rally against the Iran nuclear deal outside the U.S. Capitol.
Tea Party Patriots’ co-founder Jenny Beth Martin organized Wednesday’s rally protesting the U.S. negotiated deal with Iran, the same time the GOP House members debate the best course of action to postpone the deal. The rally comes a day after President Obama was able to secure 42 votes from the Senate Democrats, enough to block any Republicans attempt to void the agreement.
Other speakers included former Vice President candidate Sarah Palin, Former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Center for Security Policy founder Frank Gaffney, Rep. Louie Gohmert, presidential candidate Jim Gilmore, Mark Levin, and other activists. Despite the hot weather, the rally drew thousands of Tea Party members, supporters of Cruz and Trump, and Jewish groups, many holding signs and the American flag protesting the Iran deal outside the West lawn. Remarks from the speakers were met with cheers and “Amen!” from the crowd, along with angry boos when speakers mentioned the GOP leadership, President Obama, and Congress.
Cruz’s 13- minute address gave specifics of the Iran deal, especially on the sanctions against Iran that will be lifted. Calling this deal “catastrophic”, Cruz emphasized the influx of cash Iran would receive “would make the Obama administration the world’s leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism.”
Cruz urged Democratic Senators who support the agreement to reconsider:
“I want to ask every Senate Democrat, How will you look in the eyes of the mothers or father or sons or daughters of those who are murdered by jihadists, those Americans who were blown up, those Americans who were shot, those Americans who were killed, those Israelis who were murdered? And let me clear, if you vote to send billions of dollars to the jihadists who have pledged to murder Americans, then you bear direct responsibility for the murders carried out with the dollars you have given them.”
“This vote is the most important vote that any Senator or member of Congress will cast in their entire careers,” Cruz added. “To every Democratic Senator- do you value the safety and security of the United States of America, the lives of millions of Americans, or do you value party loyalty to the Obama White House?”
The mention of GOP leadership from the Texas Senator drew loud boos as he called on both the Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to prevent this deal from passing by enforcing federal law. Surprisingly, Cruz offered a potential olive branch to the two House leaders, encouraging them to do the right thing:
“Hold on: I come not to bury Caesar, but to praise him. I want to give a path forward. There are two men in Washington, D.C., who can prevent this deal from going defeat this deal. Their names are Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker John Boehner. Under the terms of the Corker-Cardin review legislation, the clock does not begin ticking until the president hands over the entire deal, and he has not handed over the side agreements. What that means is that all that has to happen is for Mitch McConnell and John Boehner to say: ‘The congressional review period has not started. Under federal law, it is illegal for Obama to lift sanctions.”
During his closing remarks, Cruz thanked the next speaker, Donald Trump, for being a part of the rally. The two shook hands as Trump took to the stage to the song “It’s the End of the World as We Know It.” Trump’s short six-minute speech slammed Obama’s leadership while criticizing the deal:
“We are led by very, very stupid people, we cannot let it continue. We lose militarily. We can’t beat ISIS. Give me a break. We can’t beat anybody. Our vets are being treated horribly.”
“We will have so much winning if I’m elected, you might get bored with winning, we are going to turn this country around,” Trump said as he received loud cheers from the crowd.
Calling the Iran deal “incompetently negotiated,” Trump argued his dealmaking and negotiating skills are what’s needed to change the balance of power. “I’ve been making lots of wonderful deals, great deals. That’s what I do. Never, ever, ever in my life have I seen any transaction so incompetently negotiated as our deal with Iran,” Trump said.
Trump pointed out a tweet by Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that calls for the “destruction of Israel” in the next 25 years. “It just came out a little while ago,” Trump said. “He said Israel will not exist in 25 years. He also said very strongly that this is the end of our dealings with the United States. So, they rip us off, they take our money, they make us look like fools, and now they are back to being who they are.”
Cruz and Trump were the clear favorites amongst the grassroots crowd, perhaps with Cruz appealing to the conservative mind and Trump appealing to the conservative anger. Even though both are competing to become the next commander-in-chief, the possibility of the “dynamic duo” teaming up is foreseen among many. One reason Cruz is rising in the polls could be attributed to the fact that he is following Reagan’s 11th Amendment of “Thou shall not attack another Republican”. Cruz has refused to say anything negative about Trump and is instead focusing his presidential campaign on attacking the failures of the Obama Administration. Meanwhile, other Republican presidential hopefuls seem to be focusing most of their energy on attacking Trump.
When asked why Cruz invited Trump to the rally and not other GOP hopefuls, Cruz stated when Donald arrives at an event, “he brings an army of TV reporters.”
“Donald being here…means the mainstream media will cover the event,” Cruz said.