Congressional Republicans and Democrats reacted to Secretary of State John Kerry’s attempt to clarify the comments he made Monday that Israel was in danger of becoming “an apartheid state.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who called for Kerry’s resignation after the comments were made public, did not feel that Kerry had gone far enough to apologize for those comments. “I’m glad Secretary Kerry tried to retract his comments. He still hasn’t apologized,” Cruz told Breitbart News on Tuesday.
Cruz pointed out that the international consequences of Kerry’s remarks would be “long-lasting” and would be used by the enemies of Israel to justify their actions. He called them “wholly inappropriate and factually wrong.”
Cruz said he was pleased that several members of the House of Representatives called for Kerry’s resignation and that he received bi-partisan condemnation from other members of Congress.
DCCC Chairman Steve Israel told Breitbart News that Kerry’s comment was “just plain wrong” and “factually incorrect.” “It goes from factually incorrect to blatantly insensitive. This is not what I would expect from a diplomat,” Israel said.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) criticized the comments on Twitter late Monday. “Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and any linkage between Israel and apartheid is nonsensical and ridiculous,” she tweeted.
Boxer later indicated on Twitter that she was pleased that Kerry acknowledged his mistake. “I’m glad Sec. Kerry said his use of the word apartheid was a mistake and I appreciate his passion for peace for Israelis and Palestinians,” she wrote.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) indicated that Kerry had sufficiently walked back his comments. “He apologized. All of us made mistakes,” McCain said shortly, pointing out that he had larger differences with Kerry over his policies on Syria and Russia.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said that Kerry’s lengthy explanation of his comment released on Monday was “helpful,” but he criticized the Secretary of State for his “tone-deafness.”
Graham said that he would not, however, call for Kerry’s resignation. “I’m not calling for his resignation; I’m asking for John to put on some reality glasses,” Graham said.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) told Breitbart News that Kerry had a “tough job” and would not call for him to resign. “People make mistakes, and we have to make allowances for that,” Hatch said. “I think that he’s worked hard enough that even though I disagree with him with a lot of things, I’m not going to ask him to resign.”