Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) praised President Donald Trump Monday upon the opening of the American embassy in Jerusalem, calling it a "long overdue move."
Trump fulfilled a long-made promise by politicians of both parties, recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moving the U.S. embassy there from Tel Avi of the Jewish state's founding. It opened Monday at a festive ceremony attended by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, White House advisers Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, Republican Senators Ted Cruz (Texas), Dean Heller (Nev.), Mike Lee (Utah) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.), and officials from around the world.
While no Democrats attended the opening, Schumer applauded the occasion.
"In a long overdue move, we have moved our embassy to Jerusalem," Schumer said in a statement. "Every nation should have the right to choose its capital. I sponsored legislation to do this two decades ago, and I applaud President Trump for doing it."
"In a long overdue move, we have moved our embassy to Jerusalem. Every nation should have the right to choose its capital. I sponsored legislation to do this two decades ago, and I applaud President Trump for doing it"
— Jonathan Martin (@jmartNYT) May 14, 2018
The Jerusalem Embassy Act passed easily in the U.S. Congress in 1995 and called for the U.S. to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and move the embassy there. However, the law included a provision allowing the president to issue a waiver to delay the embassy move six months at a time, and Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama did on every occasion, citing security concerns.
Trump issued the waiver in June but finally recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December, calling it a "recognition of reality." He spoke to the audience in Jerusalem Monday in a pre-recorded video, congratulating Israel and extending friendship to Israel and the Palestinians.
The decision has not been without controversy. Violent protests erupted again on the Gaza Strip in response to the embassy opening, leading to the reported deaths of at least 41 Palestinians.
UPDATED 2:02 P.M.: An Israeli news outlet had reported that Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch (Fla.) was part of the American delegation attending the dedication ceremony, but an aide to the congressman later confirmed to the Associated Press that he was not there.