The White House's "no-handshake" policy for President Joe Biden's trip to the Middle East might be a tough sell later in the week, according to Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., now that there's footage of the president cheerfully hugging, fist-bumping, and shaking hands with Israel's welcoming delegation on Wednesday.
As Blackburn said, President Biden can no longer use the coronavirus as a safe-distance excuse when reaching Saudi Arabia on this extended trip. He'll be obligated to shake hands with Saudi leaders, while providing the media with a photo-op that will be seen around the world.
When coming down the steps of Air Force One, Biden "probably thought, 'How nice to have people that really do want to see me,'" Blackburn told Newsmax on Wednesday, appearing with "Spicer & Co." co-hosts Sean Spicer and Lyndsay Keith.
"Now, [Biden will] have to shake everyone's hand, so it does not appear that he's being disrespectful of some individuals [from Saudi Arabia]," she added.
From Blackburn's perspective, Biden has had to overcome the humiliation of Democratic candidates — running for office in the House, Senate, and as state governors — not wanting any on-site endorsements from the president, as the calendar inches toward the midterm elections.
Prominent Democratic candidates such as Georgia gubernatorial hopeful Stacey Abrams "won't be seen" with Biden, Blackburn said, "because of what it is happening with inflation, the open border [in Mexico], with crime in the cities, with drugs, with all of this out-of-control spending.
"So, I guess [Biden] was just happy to see somebody that wanted to shake his hand [in Israel]," Blackburn said.
Blackburn doesn't mind Biden being cordial, diplomatic, and attentive on the Middle East trip. She does worry, however, about the president cozying up to Iran for two reasons:
There's no real urgency to revive the Iran nuclear deal from the Obama era, which included a reported payout of $150 billion to the Iranians.
Plus, Biden would be sending mixed signals to U.S. allies if he had negotiations with Iran ... amid reports of the Iranians sending military drones to Russia, as a means of helping Vladimir Putin win Russia's war against Ukraine.
Blackburn said Iran now belongs to the "new Axis of Evil" in the world — along with Russia, China, and North Korea.
Also, every one of Biden's foreign policy moves has been "the wrong decision," she said.
Which brings Blackburn back to the White House pledging that Biden won't discuss oil in his meetings with the Saudis.
"Just like he did with the handshake policy, Joe Biden will bring up the topic of 'oil'" with the Saudis, Blackburn said, adding that he's "desperate" to get the price of gasoline down before the November midterms.
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