O'Rourke Faces Potential Campaign Obstacle for Supporting Iran Nuclear Deal


Rep. Beto O'Rourke / Getty Images
May 1, 2018

Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D., Texas) has strongly supported the Obama administration's Iran nuclear deal, but that may pose a problem for his Senate run against Republican incumbent Ted Cruz.

On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unveiled a trove of intelligence Israel obtained showing Iran's history of nuclear operations, arguing that the Iranians lied about their nuclear program.

O'Rourke in 2015 refused to attend an address to a Joint Session of Congress by Netanyahu and has touted the effectiveness of the nuclear deal over Israel's objections. O'Rourke said that the negotiations with Iran would prevent the country from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

In a 2015 op-ed piece for the El Paso Times, O'Rourke defended the Obama administration's talks to try to end Iran's nuclear program.

"In the president’s State of the Union address last month, he outlined the case for allowing the unique and unlikely coalition of the United States, China, Russia, France, Great Britain and Germany (known as the P5+1) to pursue a negotiated resolution to the threat Iran poses as it gets closer to developing the capability to produce nuclear weapons," O'Rourke wrote.

Monday at an event in San Antonio, Cruz criticized O'Rourke for protesting Netanyahu and supporting the nuclear deal.

"Congressmen O'Rourke was so offended that he boycotted and refused to attend Prime Minister Netanyahu speech," Cruz said. "There's a problem. It's an approach that you saw in the Obama Administration. It's an approach that Congressman O'Rourke embraces, which is the way to deal with dictators is weakness and appeasement and giving billions of dollars to the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism."

Cruz's campaign also blasted O'Rourke's support for the deal:

Congressman Beto O’Rourke has been consistently wrong on foreign policy, particularly as it regards Iran – one of the greatest global threats to the United States’ national security. He has repeatedly and enthusiastically supported the Iran nuclear deal which Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu yesterday powerfully dismantled for the sham that it is – sharing stunning intelligence that proves billions of U.S. dollars are going to the world’s largest state sponsor of terror which has in turn been lying about its secret nuclear weapons program for more than two decades. Texas needs a leader who will support a serious foreign policy that puts the United States first and that confronts global threats to our security through a position of strength rather than weakness, rather than foolishly wishing them away through ineffective multilateral deals that deny reality and capitulate to Ayatollahs who seek to destroy our way of life.

O'Rourke's congressional office did not return the Washington Free Beacon's request for comment.

UPDATE 6:25 PM: This has been updated to include the quote from Cruz's campaign.