Why Top Democrats Are Turning on Chuck Schumer

House Democrats are coming out against a plan to invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a joint session of Congress, with some of the party’s top brass joining the choir.

House Speaker Mike Johnson is pushing Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to sign on to a formal invitation to the Israeli leader, with the two leaders currently negotiating over an invitation. That has been complicated by a half-dozen Democratic lawmakers openly condemning the oddly timed speech, calling it a “political gesture.”

Minnesota Representative Dean Phillips told Axios that Netanyahu is “dividing this country … in a similar way he’s divided Israel, and I think that’s awfully dangerous.”

“I can only imagine the personal and political conflict facing Leader Schumer,” Phillips added.

Those who have spoken out against the invitation include Phillips, as well as Representatives Dan Kildee and Scott Peters. Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who had previously called on Netanyahu to resign, simply said “no” to the prospect of Schumer extending a personal invitation to the Israeli leader.

House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Jim Himes felt that Netanyahu’s attention would be better used elsewhere, telling Axios that Bibi “should be focused on freeing hostages, not on charming legislators.”

The open call to bring Netanyahu to the U.S. Capitol comes mere days after the prosecutor for the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for him, charging the Israeli prime minister and three Hamas leaders with “crimes against humanity” committed in Gaza. Those charges have stood out for several lawmakers, even though the United States is not a member of the ICC.

“I think it’s a strange time to invite Netanyahu; it’s a really divisive kind of move,” Peters told Axios.

Kildee also alluded to the charges, telling the publication that he didn’t believe it was a “good time” to bring Netanyahu.

“Let’s not complicate an already complicated situation,” Kildee said.

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Kim browne

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