Are the 47 Republican senators who signed an open letter to Iranian leaders traitors? Social media users debated the issue Tuesday, with critics saying the letter seeks to undermine potentially historic negotiations between the Obama administration and Iran’s civil and religious leadership to limit Tehran's nuclear program. The letter warns any deal brokered by the Obama administration would be treated as temporary by lawmakers.
The U.S. is leading talks with Iran, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France and Germany to find a solution that would end the crippling economic sanctions the U.N. Security Council has placed on Iran but allow Iran to pursue peaceful nuclear projects for energy but prevent the regime from developing nuclear weapons. Hawkish U.S. politicians accuse Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry of being too soft on Iran.
The letter assumes Iran’s leadership does not know that in the U.S., the legislative branch can shoot down any treaty it doesn’t like. Republicans have indicated they plan to treat any agreement as an executive order, which can be struck down by a subsequent president. Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other Democrats criticized the letter as harmful to sensitive negotiations. It was led by Tom Cotton, the junior senator from Arkansas.
Some Twitter users were outright furious about the letter and rallied around the hashtag #47Traitors. As in most cases, the discussion has boiled down to a series of memes and political jabbing, with supporters of the senators coming out in force to meet the critics.
Every one of the #47Traitors have just shown they are not able to keep a cool head during sensitive negotiations, remove them from office.
â€” kittymadgrrrr (@kittymadgrrrr) March 10, 2015
â€” Steve Marmel (@Marmel) March 10, 2015
â€” LOrion (@LOrion) March 10, 2015
The Logan Act: "Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United... http://t.co/KRM8zBl9hE
â€” Lori Nalette (@Lori_Nalette) March 10, 2015
Some users called the letter a violation of the Logan Act, a 200-year-old piece of legislation that makes it illegal for American citizens to talk with foreign powers to try to influence negotiations with the U.S. government. The only person to be indicted under the Logan Act was a Kentucky farmer who published a letter calling for a separate western U.S. state allied with France. He was not convicted. American University law Professor Steve Vladeck offered up an excellent summary of the status of the letter in regard to the Logan Act, here. Vladeck argues there is almost no real chance the senators will be indicted.
â€” David Gallaher (@DavidGallaher) March 10, 2015
â€” EqualityRising! (@EqualityRising_) March 10, 2015
â€” Ignatz (@ignatzz) March 10, 2015
â€” George Monroe (@Nupe117) March 10, 2015
Supporters of the 47 GOP senators changed the hashtag to #47Patriots, and criticized Obama as the real traitor.
â€” 47TraitorsRpatriots (@LadySandersfarm) March 10, 2015
â€” Beanfrompa (@BeanfromPa) March 10, 2015
â€” KillerBunnyFooFoo™ (@PolitiBunny) March 10, 2015