Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member Latest Breaking News General Discussion The DU Lounge All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search

Blue_Tires

(55,445 posts)
Fri Apr 29, 2016, 10:15 AM Apr 2016

Va. senator travels to Syria, shakes hands with Bashar al-Assad

RICHMOND — As a veteran politician, Virginia Sen. Richard H. Black is no stranger to the grip-and-grin. But this was something extraordinary: a handshake with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

A photo of their encounter in Damascus on Thursday zipped around the world via Twitter, the smiling, silver-haired state senator grasping the hand of a man the White House calls a brutal dictator.

At the same time, a series of airstrikes was being unleashed on rebel-controlled areas of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, destroying a hospital run by international aid groups and killing at least 60 people, including one of Aleppo’s last pediatricians. Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Thursday that he was “outraged” by the attacks.

The image of Black, 71, shaking hands with Assad prompted outrage from some people but praise from others who, like Black, see Assad as a protector of Syrian Christians. It also prompted knowing head shakes and chuckles in Richmond, where the outspoken Loudoun County Republican has a reputation for going all out for causes he champions.

“Dick Black, I love him, but sometimes Dick is ready to take on the world,” said former state senator Ralph K. Smith, a GOP ally from Roanoke. Smith compared Black to another friend and Virginian, the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, and said Black’s friends can relate to the televangelist’s devoted, but sometimes exasperated wife.

“She was the most supportive wife in the world, but sometimes she just wanted to say, ‘Jerry, shut up!’ ”

Syrian news media reported the meeting between Assad and Black on Thursday, one day after it disclosed that the lawmaker was visiting the country. Black confirmed his visit Wednesday via text message but did not respond to messages Thursday about his reported meeting with Assad.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/va-senator-travels-to-syria-to-shake-hands-with-bashar-al-assad/2016/04/28/07c03582-0d54-11e6-a6b6-2e6de3695b0e_story.html

Christ, what an asshole...

5 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
Highlight: NoneDon't highlight anything 5 newestHighlight 5 most recent replies
Va. senator travels to Syria, shakes hands with Bashar al-Assad (Original Post) Blue_Tires Apr 2016 OP
I would like to know BigMin28 Apr 2016 #1
I heard that on the radio yesterday and my jaw dropped underpants Apr 2016 #2
It pays not to get too worked up over these kinds of things. Igel Apr 2016 #3
FWIW, Pelosi and Kerry visited Assad before the civil was started in '08... Blue_Tires Apr 2016 #5
He is a conservative republican state senator who likens same-sex marriage to polygamy and incest, pampango Apr 2016 #4

Igel

(35,425 posts)
3. It pays not to get too worked up over these kinds of things.
Fri Apr 29, 2016, 11:50 AM
Apr 2016

In response to their political foe's denigration of Assad, in '08 Pelosi and Kerry visited Assad. The usual "picture of ______ with Assad" and the usual "handshake between ___________ and Assad" pictures were widely circulated.

Then, as now, people keep trying to say he is ready for peace talks, that time with Israel. A bit of Jewish-related politics + "need to show I defy the president I loathe" politics. They were as widely applauded as they were condemned for it. As for peace talks, nothing happened. Zilch. Nada.

Yes, the trip was one of those "a senator is trying to conduct foreign policy without the president's approval" kinds of things that we <strike>hate</strike>/<strike>love<strike>/hate. Only conservatives mentioned the Logan Act, and (D) defended them pretty much in the same way that (D) condemned (R) senators for the same thing under Clinton and Obama (and (R) defended them, using language reminiscent of the way (D) defend their own).

At least in this case, Assad really is better for Xian longevity, and for sure in the event of Assad's fall to ISIS and an-Nusra there'll be no Xian airlift like happened from Arab countries after '48 in relocating Jews. Although you can never tell, Iran may help move some Shi'ites and Alawites to Lebanon. (I doubt they'd want the Alawites in Iran. They're sort of deviant Shi'ites.)

Blue_Tires

(55,445 posts)
5. FWIW, Pelosi and Kerry visited Assad before the civil was started in '08...
Fri Apr 29, 2016, 12:29 PM
Apr 2016

And since this jerkoff has no pull with the federal government whatsoever, I'm wondering why Assad even decided to meet with him aside from pure propaganda purposes...

pampango

(24,692 posts)
4. He is a conservative republican state senator who likens same-sex marriage to polygamy and incest,
Fri Apr 29, 2016, 12:13 PM
Apr 2016

proposed an amendent to prohibit Medicaid expansion without the legislature’s approval in Virginia and in April 2014 Black sent an official letter to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad praising Assad for "treating with respect all Christians in Damascus" ...

Republican Senator Bill Stanley later joked "What’s the matter, Dick? Was Kim Jong-un not returning your text messages?".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_Black_(politician)

Just the kind of conservative you would expect to be supporting Assad.

Latest Discussions»General Discussion»Va. senator travels to Sy...