Calling it “out of order,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) blasted Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress in March. According to a report in Roll Call, Pelosi’s objection was primarily based on the fact that neither the White House or the House Democratic Party leadership was consulted.
“It’s out of order in terms of the protocol,” Pelosi said of the invite. Boehner apparently did not consult with the White House on the joint session, nor did he make Democratic leadership aware of the Netanyahu invite.
Pelosi said her understanding was that the joint session — which was originally slated for Feb. 11 but has since been moved to March 3 — would take place within two weeks of the Israeli elections on March 17. “I don’t think that’s appropriate for any country,” the California Democrat said.
Pelosi noted that, when she was speaker, she invited a number of foreign leaders at the time to speak before a joint session, including King Abdullah of Jordan, French President Nicholas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Mexican President Felipe Calderon. All of those speakers, she said, were invited in consultation with congressional Republicans and the White House.
Pelosi’s visitor list may have been made in consultation with the White House, but in April 2007, she went to Syria for a meeting with Despot/ President Bashar al-Assad, ignoring the very public objections of the Bush Administration. Even worse, she attempted to negotiate for the U.S. without administration approval and she attempted to negotiate for Israel without the knowledge of then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
At the time of her visit, a Washington Post editorial blasted her:
After a meeting with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, Ms. Pelosi announced that she had delivered a message from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that “Israel was ready to engage in peace talks” with Syria. What’s more, she added, Mr. Assad was ready to “resume the peace process” as well. Having announced this seeming diplomatic breakthrough, Ms. Pelosi suggested that her Kissingerian shuttle diplomacy was just getting started. “We expressed our interest in using our good offices in promoting peace between Israel and Syria,” she said.
Only one problem: The Israeli prime minister entrusted Ms. Pelosi with no such message. “What was communicated to the U.S. House Speaker does not contain any change in the policies of Israel,” said a statement quickly issued by the prime minister’s office. In fact, Mr. Olmert told Ms. Pelosi that “a number of Senate and House members who recently visited Damascus received the impression that despite the declarations of Bashar Assad, there is no change in the position of his country regarding a possible peace process with Israel.” In other words, Ms. Pelosi not only misrepresented Israel’s position but was virtually alone in failing to discern that Mr. Assad’s words were mere propaganda.