U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Delray Beach, told a town hall audience that President Donald Trump should pursue “hot diplomacy” and consult with Congress before taking any military action in North Korea.
Hastings also zinged Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and criticized the Hillary Clinton campaign while speaking to about 70 people at the Mandel Jewish Community Center west of Boynton Beach, which is in the district of Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach.
Hastings urged Trump to consult the entire Congress — not just leaders — before taking any military action to counter North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons.
“I hope that we aren’t senseless enough to take on war. We fought on that peninsula before and lost people unnecessarily….I’m hopeful that if there is going to be any war that Congress will be consulted and that we will authorize,” Hastings said.
“I’ve had a great deal of experience internationally…I think I know more about the world than Donald Trump does,” Hastings added.
He said Trump should spend more time in Washington and less time at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach and noted that he has joined Frankel and Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, in calling on the federal government to reimburse local taxpayers for the estimated $3.7 million in costs for helping the Secret Service with protecting the president.
Trump acknowledged “fissures” in the Democratic Party and noted that Sanders, a registered independent, and new Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez are coming to Miami tonight as part of a “Come Together and Fight Back” tour.
“I still feel that if Bernie wants to do something about the Democratic Party then he ought to join the damn Democratic Party and stop fiddling around in my organization if you can’t make that necessary step,” Hastings said.
Hastings, an early Hillary Clinton supporter for her 2008 and 2016 presidential bids, said the Clinton campaign spent too much on TV ads and not enough on turning out voters last year. He said he brought up his concerns with the Clinton campaign but not the candidate herself.
“I regret…not having spoken with Hillary Clinton myself. But I felt that at her level she didn’t need to hear my complaints. So I dealt with (campaign chairman) John Podesta and (campaign manager) Robby Mook and some other kid – I can’t even remember his name, he was that insignificant, but he was their so-called black outreach person. So I dealt with them and tried to get them to understand that they were not spending the necessary resources on turnout,” Hastings said.
Hastings, 80, was far from being the oldest person in the senior-dominated crowd.
Sylvia Rosenblatt, 100, of Lake Worth attended the meeting.
“You gotta keep your brain going,” she said afterward. She called Hastings “fabulous.”