US President Barack Obama is facing heat for what many are calling his childish reaction to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming speech to Congress.
Senior political analyst Brit Hume addressed the controversy over the weekend on Fox News, saying the situation “possibly could have been avoided” had Speaker of the House John Boehner notified the White House of the invitation extended to Netanyahu.
While an unusual move, Boehner defended the action, saying that Congress has every right to invite the prime minister to address a joint session. As a separate branch of government, Boehner said that he does not need the White House’s input on every single congressional action.
Hume, who agreed with Boehner, said that the Obama administrations “anger and fury” only widens the deepening rift between Washington and Jerusalem. “It’s no secret the relationship between the President and Mr. Netanyahu has been tense and difficult,” Hume stated.
Hume slammed the president for his response to Netanyahu’s impending visit and turning his back on a world leader.
“What needed to happen here…is the President kind of needed to put on his ‘big boy pants’ and say we’ll welcome the Prime Minister to Washington and I’ll look forward to meeting with him,” he said.
According to Hume, had Obama extended an invitation to Netanyahu after his speech to Congress, “he probably would have been a little loathe to even indirectly criticize the administration on Capitol Hill.”
Netanyahu is expected to address Congress in March on an Iran sanctions bill US lawmakers are taking into consideration. The bill calls for harsher sanctions on the Iranian Republic should representatives from the P5+1 and Iran fail to reach a permanent agreement of nuclear talks by June.
The prime minister and the president have differed on their approach on how to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Obama has called for a more diplomatic route, saying sanctions will only hurt potential agreements.
Netanyahu, who says Iranian access to nuclear material and technology puts the security of Israel in mortal danger, is aiming to encourage US lawmakers to take a more hawkish approach stop Iran from being able to obtain any nuclear technology.