Al-Monitor: Congress calls Trump’s bluff on threat to cut aid over UN vote

President Donald Trump’s threat to cut foreign aid to countries that criticize his position on Jerusalem at the United Nations is drawing fierce condemnation from key Democratic lawmakers, raising doubts that Congress would allow him to carry it out.

Trump suggested today that any country voting in favor of Thursday’s nonbinding resolution opposing the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel could lose US foreign assistance, potentially putting vulnerable US allies in the Middle East at risk. US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, after sending letters to UN members warning them of consequences if they vote the wrong way, followed suit today with a tweet endorsing the president’s statement of “Let them vote against us, we’ll save a lot.”

“The effort by President Trump and Ambassador Haley to threaten nations who might dare to express disagreement in the United Nations is not a wise or sustainable tactic, and it will make cooperation more difficult in the future,” said Rep. David Price, D-N.C., a member of the House panel overseeing foreign aid spending.

Even members of Congress who support recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital have raised concerns about the administration’s diplomatic approach.

“I support the American position that this resolution shouldn’t be passed, but the way the president handled the announcement makes it much more difficult to get the type of vote that we would like to see at the United Nations,” said Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“We don’t always win United Nations votes, but we’ve been coming closer on a lot of these votes,” added Cardin. “I think the way the president handled the announcement will isolate Israel even more and the United States more.”

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