• Even Dems Are Mad At Obama For Hosting The Vietnamese Communist Leader

    President Barack Obama is now facing opposition from both parties for his meeting Tuesday with Vietnamese communist party leader Nguyễn Phú Trọng.

    “I am disappointed that the administration has chosen to host Nguyen Phu Trong,” Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez said in a statement to Fox News. “As an advocate for human rights in Vietnam, I cannot ignore the dismal state of freedom of the press and freedom of speech.”

    The United States and Vietnam have done a lot to improve diplomatic relations in the nearly four decades since the Vietnam War. The countries officially resumed diplomatic talks during the Bill Clinton administration. Despite the improved relationship, the one-party Communist regime continues to be a source of criticism for its mass human rights abuses.

    “As you well know, Mr. Trong is not a head of state nor leader of an elected government. He has been invited to the White House simply because he sits at the top of Vietnam’s one party system,” Sanchez and eight other representatives said in a bipartisan letter obtained by Fox News. “The authoritarian one-party system is the root cause of the deplorable human rights situation in Vietnam.”

    Though issues like trade and security were at the forefront of the meeting, there was still hope the president would find a way to prioritize human rights. Republican lawmakers even urged the president to do so in a letter sent prior to the meeting. Nevertheless, the two countries do say human rights was in the agenda.

    “The United States and Vietnam recognize the positive and substantive developments in many areas of cooperation,” the United States and Vietnam said in a joint statement. “Cooperation in addressing war legacy issues as well as in science and technology, education, healthcare, environment, response to climate change, defense, security, human rights, and increasing regional and international cooperation on issues of mutual concern.”

    The meeting represents only the latest divide between the president and his own party. The president is negotiating a massive international trade deal, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), with Vietnam and 10 other Pacific nations. Democratic lawmakers, unions and other critics have criticized the president for the unfinished trade deal which they say will benefit special interests at the expense of working Americans while doing little to address human rights.

    The White House though argues the trade deal will actually help to address issue in countries like Vietnam.

    “Well, clearly we would like to see a lot more progress be made on the human rights front in Vietnam; that’s true in Cuba as well,” Earnest told reporters. “If we can complete a TPP agreement, and if Vietnam signs on, they would be making specific commitments to better protect and reflect the basic rights of workers in that country. That would be important progress.”

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