As Senate Democrats blocked an effort to increase funds for small businesses during the coronavirus crisis, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) sent a letter to President Donald Trump, condemning his administration for blocking $5 billion in relief to Iran. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) gave her a piece of his mind, noting that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has led his government in chants of “Death to America!”
“The Ayatollah leads chants of ‘death to America.’ He pledges to destroy America, which he calls ‘the Great Satan.’ And Senate Dems want to send him millions??? At the EXACT SAME TIME, Senate Dems are blocking desperately need relief to small businesses in America,” Cruz tweeted. He concluded his powerful rebuke with the hashtag “Priorities.”
The Ayatollah leads chants of “death to America.” He pledges to destroy America, which he calls “the Great Satan.” And Senate Dems want to send him millions??? At the EXACT SAME TIME, Senate Dems are blocking desperately need relief to small businesses in America. 😱 #Priorities https://t.co/o44wqG9bOm
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) April 10, 2020
Feinstein’s letter, sent to Trump along with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, attacked the administration for deciding to block $5 million from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to Iran. “As you know, Iran has been unable to contain the spread of the disease within its borders, particularly as its economy has contracted under sanctions and the embargo on its oil exports,” the senator wrote. “As of today, Iran had about 65,000 positive cases of COVID-19 and had lost 4,000 people to the disease, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Recourse Center.”
Indeed, the numbers are likely much higher. The opposition has accused the mullahs of vastly underreporting cases and deaths — a claim bolstered by satellite images showing mass graves visible from space. Meanwhile, the regime has expelled a Doctors Without Borders team and Ayatollah Khamenei has spread a conspiracy theory that the coronavirus was developed to genetically target Persian people. Iran state television has featured mullahs telling Persians to shake hands and kiss each other on the cheek — in order to spread the virus and make people immune. Pompeo exposed Iran’s misinformation campaign to tarnish Trump’s response.
All the while, Iran’s deputy health minister offered to help the U.S. to contain the virus.
The coronavirus has taken a tragic toll on the Persian people, but relief aid would be redirected to help a murderous regime that sponsors terrorism, champions lies and conspiracy theories about the virus, and calls for “Death to America!”
As Cruz said, Feinstein’s letter shows that the senator does not have her priorities straight. Then again, neither do many other leading Democrats. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) drafted a letter on March 23 asking Pompeo to drop U.S. sanctions on Iran — just as Pompeo exposed a video of Khamenei explaining that his requests for sanctions relief “isn’t about fighting the pandemic. It’s about cash for the regime’s leaders.”
The AOC letter was scrubbed from the internet — but not because AOC and her allies were embarrassed to support funds for the ayatollah. No, the letter had been published prematurely. The Democrats were indeed fully intent on demanding money for Khamenei — they just wanted to get more signatures first.
As small businesses in America struggle to survive due to the coronavirus, Democrats are holding up vital aid while demanding the U.S. finance Iran’s government. Senate Democrats blocked an expansion of the Paycheck Protection Program from $350 billion to $600 billion this week.
This should not surprise Americans, however. After all, Senate Democrats blocked the bipartisan $2 trillion stimulus bill while House Democrats pushed their pet projects — including extreme climate regulations on airlines and a slate of election “reforms” that would have made fraud easier. Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden has called the crisis an “opportunity” for “structural” change on — you guessed it! — climate and voting.
In this context, it is hardly surprising that Democrats would hold up small business aid while at the same time demanding funds for a regime known for chanting, “Death to America!” That does not make it any less heinous or shameful, however.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.