2005-09-02 / Columnists

Meeks: Gov’t Should Apologize For Robertson’s Comment

Congressman Gregory W. Meeks, a member of the International Relations Committee issued the following statement about the recent controversial comments of Pat Robertson on his radio show, calling for the assignation of Venezuela’s president.

“I am deeply troubled by the recent comments by Pat Robertson on his 700 club program calling for the assassination of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez because he has placed a stake in the back of diplomacy. 

Under the current Administration our relationship with Venezuela has been tenuous at best. We do not need inflammatory rhetoric from anyone along the nature of what has been said by Pat Robertson. During a time when we have over 100,000 American men and women fighting a brutal war in Iraq, the last thing we want to do is create an atmosphere of division in our hemisphere.

Robertson should not use his television hour to air his personal dislikes of President Chavez to the 7 million viewers who were watching. His assessment of international affairs is inaccurate, incomplete and inflammatory. 

He should be taken off the air.

He was on record for denying the Civil War in Lebanon in the 80’s, he developed business alliances with Charles Taylor, former dictator of Liberia now in exile in Nigeria, in 1999 through the Cayman Islands based firm known as Freedom Gold, Inc. 

Prior to that, he founded the African Development Corporation and was a supporter of the corrupt Zairian dictator, Sese Seko Mobutu, who in 1989, launched a crackdown on religious groups in Zaire. As early as two years ago, Robertson has been recorded as stating, ‘If I could just get a nuclear device inside Foggy Bottom… We’ve got to blow that thing up…’  Foggy Bottom is the nickname for the State Department’s headquarters.

“It is unfortunate that the State Department’s strongest condemnation to these type of violations of American law from the leader of the Republican Party’s evangelical base, an avowed Christian broadcaster and a 1988 Presidential candidate can only be summed up as ‘inappropriate.’ President Bush and the House and Senate Republican Leadership should not remain silent and condemn his statements. Mr. Robertson calling for the assassination of a democratically elected leader of any country is illegal, immoral and violates the Assassination Ban as outlined in Executive Order 12333 that was issued by President Ronald Reagan on December 4th 1981. 

“It is increasingly difficult for the United States to retain credibility abroad when condemning acts of terrorism or terrorist rhetoric of those abroad if we remain silent in condemning statements that encourages terrorism by Americans.  

“I urge the Administration and the Republican Leadership to act immediately and denounce this type of violent rhetoric. Finally, I encourage my conscientious colleagues on the other side of the aisle to disassociate themselves from Mr. Robertson’s remarks by condemning his statements before our international position is further compromised.”

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