Dems fear Trump undermining US stature

Dems fear Trump undermining US stature
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A pair of top-ranking Democrats scolded President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpDems win from coast to coast Falwell after Gillespie loss: 'DC should annex' Northern Virginia Dems see gains in Virginia's House of Delegates MORE on Thursday for behavior that they claim risks compromising the United States’ status as a global superpower.

Sens. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSenators push mandatory sexual harassment training for members, staff Bipartisan group of lawmakers aim to reform US sugar program Senate panel to hold hearing on bump stocks MORE (Calif.) and Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinFacebook farce shows lawmaker deviousness, demagoguery Dem senator wants details on Manafort's multiple passports US backs out of global oil anti-corruption effort MORE (Md.) wrote an op-ed in USA Today attacking Trump for his behavior since Election Day, including his apparent dismissal of U.S. intelligence briefings and the highly public nature of his search for secretary of State.   

“Donald Trump has undertaken an awesome task and responsibility, and he must now lead by example,” the senators wrote. “We therefore owe it to him, and to the nation, to demand that when it comes to America’s national security imperatives, he take his new job more seriously.”

Feinstein is the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee. Cardin is ranking member on the Foreign Relations panel.

“Candidate Trump’s comments on an array of foreign policy issues were disturbing at best and frightening at worst. This conduct cannot become the norm,” the two Democrats added.

“At stake is America’s role as a global superpower: building coalitions, fostering development, combating disease, fighting terrorism, upholding democratic institutions and values and filling leadership voids where other nations come up short.”

Since eking out a surprise victory over Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGOP rushes to cut ties to Moore Papadopoulos was in regular contact with Stephen Miller, helped edit Trump speech: report Bannon jokes Clinton got her ‘ass kicked’ in 2016 election MORE last month, Trump has raced to name several nominees for senior cabinet posts.

However, he has yet to name a secretary of State, despite weeks of meetings and deliberations over the issue. An initially slim list of candidates has ballooned to nearly a dozen names, including 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, ex-CIA Director David Petraeus and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.   

According to Feinstein and Cardin, Trump has been treating the process “like a reality television show,” a reference to Trump's time hosting "The Apprentice" and "The Celebrity Apprentice."

The two lawmakers also attacked the president-elect’s apparent disregard for U.S. intelligence and diplomatic files. Trump’s transition team has noted that he has attended just a few of the daily intelligence briefings offered to him, and officials at the State Department say they were not consulted before Trump’s conversations with major world leaders.

In some of those discussions, Trump disrupted mainstream norms of U.S. foreign policy. 

His conversation with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen was the first time leaders from the two countries have talked in decades. And in remarks with Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte, the president-elect reportedly endorsed an anti-drug campaign plagued by extrajudicial killings that has left thousands of Filipinos dead.

Lastly, Feinstein and Cardin on Thursday criticized Trump’s continued position as head of the company that bears his name, which they claim puts him “on a collision course with the Constitution.”

Provisions of the founding document bar federal officials from taking payment or gifts from foreign states, but Trump’s company has business arrangements with several foreign state-owned enterprises, potentially putting his position in peril.

Trump has said he will discuss his future plans for the company at a press conference next week, though critics have questioned whether a proposal to hand over control to his children — as he is believed to be considering — would satisfy their concerns.