March 22, 2017
The State Department's to-do list was already long, but thanks to George Soros, it just got longer. Under Obama, the agency raised more than a few eyebrows partnering with international groups tied to the liberal billionaire. And now that Donald Trump is at the helm, more countries feel free to protest it. With an ally in the White House, world leaders have been much more vocal about what they see as an encroachment on their turf under the guise of USAID and other programs.
From Hungary to Macedonia, governments are complaining about the unwelcome intrusion of far-Left special interests. In the former Yugoslavian territory in particular, "Soros-based organizations" are lobbying for reforms "ultimately aimed to give the Prime Minister and left-of-center government full control over judiciary power," the GOP points out. That kind of foreign strong-arming isn't just unethical -- it's illegal. In some places, the resistance is growing in the form of a global Stop Operation Soros coalition. "Politicians with nationalist constituencies in several Eastern Bloc states have become increasingly aggressive in seeking international support for their crusade against Soros," Politico points out, "and they seem to have found at least some takers in the GOP."
A group of Republican senators fired off a letter to new Secretary of State Rex Tillerson asking him to dig into the grants awarded by USAID to left-wing political groups. "The USAID website shows that between 2012 and 2016, USAID gave almost $5 million in taxpayer cash to... 'The Civil Society Project,' which 'aims to empower Macedonian citizens to hold government accountable.' USAID's website links to www.soros.org.mk, and says the project trained hundreds of young Macedonians 'in youth activism and the use of new media instruments.'" Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) is just as frustrated, telling me on "Washington Watch" recently, "We're not supposed to be taking sides. There needs to be a top-to-bottom review at the State Department to ensure this kind of aggressive partisanship doesn't take place."
In Hungary, leaders warned, "Large-bodied predators are swimming here in the waters. This is the trans-border empire of George Soros, with tons of money and international heavy artillery. It is causing trouble... that they are trying secretly and with foreign money to influence Hungarian politics." After eight years of watching the Obama administration lean on other nations on everything from radical abortion policy to homosexuality, President Trump finally has a chance to restore some respect to the diplomatic process. Taxpayers shouldn't be exporting an ideology that can't even get traction here at home. Especially not with our hard-earned dollars.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.