Republican leaders in Washington are in favor of presidential candidate Mitt Romney making a trip to Israel before U.S. elections in November, something President Obama has not done since taking office in early 2009.
“It’s not just a political thing, it’s the right thing to do,” said Allen West, a republican Congressman from Florida. “I think the most important title the president has is commander-in-chief and you need to be able to go out there to some of those critical areas.”
Pete Sessions, head of the National Republican Congressional Committee says “it would be a good visit” for Romney, while Representative Steve King of Iowa is also in favor a trip to Israel, but says the visit should focus heavily on building a foundation for his policy towards the Jewish state, and not President Obama’s record.
“Do not utter Barack Obama’s name with regard to policy in Israel. He can go there and reiterate his record, build some confidence in the Israeli people and send a message to Americans [about] what kind of a relationship he would have and what kind of policy he would have towards Israel,” he told The Hill.
The former governor of Massachussetts has visited Israel three times and is said to have a close relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
On the other side of the aisle, some democrats have been urging President Obama to make a state visit before November, but some, such as Barney Frank believe it would be too politically charged.
“This close to the election I would think it would not be a good idea,” Congressman Frank said. ”I don’t think it’s a big deal. I think what’s important is the policy, not the tourism.”
George W. Bush did not visit Israel until late in the second term of his presidency.
To watch Mitt Romney speak about Israel, recently, click below.