Senator Tom Harkin issued a prepared statement late Thursday to comment, again, on the speech the president of Venezuela delivered this week at the United Nations.
On Thursday morning, Harkin spoke with radio reporters in Iowa by phone and was asked for his thoughts on the speech in which Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez referred to President Bush as the devil. Harkin called the comments incendiary, but Harkin immediately went on to say he could “understand the frustration and the anger of certain people around the world because of George Bush’s policies.”
A few minutes later, Harkin accused President Bush of “fanning the flames” that have led people in other countries to be frustrated and angry with the U.S. That was on Thursday morning.
On Thursday afternoon at 4:30, Harkin’s staff issued a prepared statement in which Harkin is quoted as saying the Chavez speech was “unworthy of a nation’s leader.” Harkin said, again, that he “understood the frustrations of many in the international community because of George W. Bush’s policies” but Harkin went on to say that did not give Chavez or others “the right to come to our country and personally insult and attack the President of the United States.”
Here is Harkin’s prepared statement in its entirety: “Yesterday’s comments by President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela were incendiary and unworthy of a nation’s leader. While I understand the frustrations of many in the international community because of George W. Bush’s policies, I do not believe that gives them the right to come to our country and personally insult and attack the President of the United States. This is especially inappropriate at a forum such as the United Nations, dedicated to civil and peaceful dialogue among nations.”
You can hear Harkin’s Thursday morning statements on the subject by clicking on the audio link below.