Ted Cruz, Jeff Sessions, Mike Lee: ‘Disturbed’ Obama Pressuring UK to Stay in EU

The Obama Administration should keep its nose out of the United Kingdom’s referendum on membership in the European Union, according to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT).

“Regardless of the outcome of the United Kingdom’s referendum on its membership in the European Union, we firmly believe that the United States and the United Kingdom should continue to work closely together for the benefit of all,” the three senators wrote in a letter to President Barack Obama Monday. “For this reason, it is our position that the United States should take no official position on the outcome of this referendum.”

The UK is slated to vote on its membership in the EU later this week, in a referendum that could lead to the UK’s exit from the 28 nation bloc or “Brexit” (a portmanteau of the words Britain and exit).

Cruz, Sessions, and Lee have taken particular umbrage at the Obama Administration’s public Brexit positions. In their letter to Obama, the trio said they have been “disturbed” by the appearance that his administration is pressuring the UK to remain in the EU.

“In October 2015, United States Trade Representative Michael Froman stated that ‘We’re not particularly in the market for FTAs [free trade agreements] with individual countries.’ Your joint press conference with Prime Minister Cameron last month made it clear that you will use the power of the presidency to intervene in Britain’s decision, and that you place negotiations with Britain at ‘the back of the queue.’”

According to the Republican lawmakers, it is up to the British people to decide their own fate and not a matter for U.S. intervention.

“The United States, as a nation founded on the sovereign and democratic voice of the American people, must respect the sovereignty of other democratic peoples, and their inalienable right to determine their own destiny,” they wrote. “Any interference in their decision can only harm our relationship.”

The threesome concluded by encouraging the continued cooperation and vital friendship with the UK no matter what the outcome of the vote.

“For us, Britain stands in the front of the line,” Cruz, Sessions, and Lee wrote. “We invite you to join us in this confidence, to share our belief in the value of an Anglo-American relationship based on democracy and sovereignty, and to end your Administration’s misguided effort to pressure Britain into a choice that it would not make of its own free will.”

Last week 12 congressmen, led by Reps. George Holding (R-NC) and Mike Kelly (R-PA), sent the same letter to Obama.

Read the full letter:

Dear President Obama:

We write to express our strong support for the Special Relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom. This Relationship has played a vital role in advancing prosperity and defending the security of our nation and the free world. Regardless of the outcome of the United Kingdom’s referendum on its membership in the European Union, we firmly believe that the United States and the United Kingdom should continue to work closely together for the benefit of all. For this reason, it is our position that the United States should take no official position on the outcome of this referendum.

We are therefore disturbed to see your Administration seeking to pressure the United Kingdom into remaining in the European Union. In October 2015, United States Trade Representative Michael Froman stated that “We’re not particularly in the market for FTAs [free trade agreements] with individual countries.” Your joint press conference with Prime Minister Cameron last month made it clear that you will use the power of the presidency to intervene in Britain’s decision, and that you place negotiations with Britain at “the back of the queue.”

Regardless of the outcome of the referendum, citizens of the United Kingdom should know that we will continue to regard our relations with the United Kingdom as a central factor in the foreign, security, and trading policies of the United States. The United States, as a nation founded on the sovereign and democratic voice of the American people, must respect the sovereignty of other democratic peoples, and their inalienable right to determine their own destiny. Any interference in their decision can only harm our relationship.

We await the decision of the British people in the certainty that their vote, while it may open new opportunities for cooperation with our British friends and allies, will not diminish any of our vital ties. For us, Britain stands in the front of the line. We invite you to join us in this confidence, to share our belief in the value of an Anglo-American relationship based on democracy and sovereignty, and to end your Administration’s misguided effort to pressure Britain into a choice that it would not make of its own free will. 

Sincerely,

Ted Cruz

United States Senator

Mike Lee

United States Senator

Jeff Sessions

United States Senator


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