A California Democrat said he didn’t see much agreement among his colleagues with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) assertion that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insulted the intelligence of Congress.
“I was near tears throughout the prime minister’s speech – saddened by the insult to the intelligence of the United States as part of the P5 +1 nations, and saddened by the condescension toward our knowledge of the threat posed by Iran and our broader commitment to preventing nuclear proliferation,” Pelosi said in a statement after the address.
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), a pro-Israel lawmaker who has been working on the Iran nuclear threat for many years, stressed that “every speech includes an awful lot of stuff that members of the audience already know, and then you build from that.”
“Look at any State of the Union address, and you will see an awful lot of things you already knew, and then that’s the foundation for whatever proposals or additional information the speaker wants to provide,” Sherman told CNN.
“I think that Netanyahu did a very good job of reminding us and giving us additional reasons why we cannot accept a nuclear Iran. There was not a lot in the speech about how to put more pressure on Iran, so that Iran agrees to a reasonable deal. And that is the program we’re still trying to discover.”
Sherman said Netanyahu’s speech could be “one of 1,000 different things” to ultimately prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.
“We’re in a tough position. None of the options available look all that inviting. There are ways to put more pressure on Iran. We ought to be doing that. And, at the same time, I will be interested in looking at the deal that comes out of the Swiss negotiations,” he said. “I’m hoping that we see intrusive inspections, because I’m just as concerned about sneak-out as I am breakout of this agreement.”
Asked directly about Pelosi’s reaction, Sherman replied, “I don’t think there were many people on the floor who thought that.”
“You saw the reaction there. If the speech was condescending, it was condescending to everybody in the room. And yet the vast majority of the people in the room didn’t find it condescending,” he said.
“That doesn’t mean that it didn’t repeat a lot of things that a lot of us knew. But that’s not condescension. That’s oratory. Every speech, pick at random any State of the Union speech for the last 10 years, and look at how many sentences in that speech remind you of what you already know, tell you things that everybody agrees with, remind you of how dedicated we are to our veterans, for example. You have got to have a lot of stuff in a speech that everybody already knows and agrees with before you present your additional ideas and your additional insights.”