Boehner: I Told Ambassador Not to Tell Obama

January 29, 2015 9:14 p.m.

I had not seen this statement put up by Speaker Boehner’s office trying to explain away the Boehner-Netanyahu speech debacle. For starters, the statement appears geared to suggest that reports questioning the incident are part of some sort of anti-Semitic conspiracy theory – claims that the Israelis “orchestrated” the invitation. But to the point, the statement has Boehner instructing Amb. Dermer not to tell the White House what they were agreeing to.

“The Speaker made it clear [to Amb. Dermer] that it was his prerogative to inform the White House. We then went about identifying potential dates for an address. On the afternoon of January 20, the day of the State of the Union, we informed Ambassador Dermer of our intent to issue the invitation and our intent to notify the administration of the invitation. He accepted and acknowledged our intent to do so.”

On the off chance this is true, this makes the whole thing only more comical. The Ambassador is presumably a grown up and knows about diplomatic protocol and how to be an Ambassador. He really lets himself be drawn into this sort of skullduggery and trickterism within an allied government, his government’s prime international protector? Really? So he allows himself to be drawn into what is – take your pick – a dispute between political parties in the host country or between branches of government?

This isn’t a constitutional issue per se – though some actually do see it that way. But contrary to Boehner’s claim, Congress is not a coequal branch of government when it comes to handling diplomacy and receiving diplomatic missions from foreign states.

In any case, the new Boehner line is that Dermer is such a rube he allowed himself to be drawn into a domestic political dispute in which he was on the opposite side of the head of state. Of course, somehow he happened to be on the side of the political party he worked for as a political operative back when he was an American citizen.

Go figure.

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