Election 2020: Meet the Democrats’ foreign policy advisers

All candidates except Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., raise their hands while responding to a question that they would currently support the original Iran nuclear agreement during the first 2020 Democratic debate in Miami, Florida, June 26, 2019 (photo by Reuters/Mike Segar)

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Welcome to Al-Monitor’s overview of the 2020 presidential election. Here you’ll find everything you need about the Middle East positions and foreign policy advisers of all the candidates who have qualified for the third Democratic primary debate. Click on the candidates below to view their voting history, policy positions and more.

Check out the latest primary polling from Real Clear Politics here.

 

Updated: Sept. 13, 2019

 

 




Candidates qualified for third debate:


Joe Biden
Former vice president and senator from Delaware

Joe Biden served as a US senator for Delaware from 1973 until 2009, eventually chairing the Judiciary and Foreign Relations committees. During that time, he voted against the Gulf War in 1991 but in favor of authorizing the use of force against Iraq in 2002. He also raised eyebrows with a proposal to partition Iraq into three autonomous regions at the height of the civil war in 2006.

After failed presidential campaigns in 1988 and 2008, Biden served as Barack Obama’s vice president from 2009 to 2017, taking over several key foreign policy portfolios, including US-Iraq relations. As vice president, he was also tasked with selling the Iran nuclear deal to skeptical lawmakers on Capitol Hill, lobbying at cross-purposes with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a decadeslong friend. After leaving the White House, he established the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy & Global Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania.

2001: Voted for the Authorization for the Use of Military Force after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, which became the basis for counterterror operations throughout the region.

2009: Urged President Obama to emphasize drones and limit US ground troops to target terrorist groups.

2011: Advised President Obama to delay the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in order to obtain better drone photos of the site.

July 2019: Called for a narrowly focused mission against al-Qaeda and the Islamic State and for bringing "the vast majority of troops home." 

2014: Apologized to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Turkey after blaming them for the rise of the Islamic State.

2015: Served as vice president in 2015 when the Obama administration started supporting the Saudi-led coalition against Yemen's Houthi rebels.

2018: Expressed "doubts" over Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's leadership and called for consequences over Jamal Khashoggi’s murder.

May 2019: Called for an end to US support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

July 2019: Accused President Trump of making nuclear proliferation in Saudi Arabia and Iran "more likely." 

July 2019: Called for "a reassessment" of US-Saudi relations. 

2007: Voted against declaring the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization.

2007: Called for "conduct change" instead of "regime change" in Iran as well as tougher economic sanctions.

2011: Opposed congressional sanctions on Iran's Central Bank.

2012: Supported President Obama's efforts to instate "crippling" sanctions against Iran.

2015: Defended the nuclear deal on Capitol Hill as vice president.

2018: Condemned President Trump's withdrawal from the nuclear deal and supports re-entering the accord. 

May 2019: Voiced concern over military escalation with Iran under President Trump.

July 2019: Criticized Iran for violating the nuclear deal but condemned President Trump's "maximum pressure" campaign. 

September 2019: Endorsed military action to deter "against destabilizing actions by the Quds Force and Iran in the Gulf." 

1991: Voted against the Gulf War.

1998: Supported President Clinton's airstrikes against Iraq and called for overthrowing Saddam Hussein.

2002: Voted to authorize the use of force against Iraq.

2006: Opposed President Bush's troop surge and called for total military withdrawal.

2007: Passed a nonbinding Senate resolution that called for a federalized Iraq along sectarian and ethnic lines.

2011: Managed President Obama's Iraq policy while in the White House; failed to negotiate a status of forces agreement with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, leading to the withdrawal of US troops.

2015: Supported the reintroduction of US troops into Iraq to fight the Islamic State.

1982: Voted to increase US assistance to Israel over the objections of President Reagan.

1982: Supported Israel's invasion of Lebanon, but warned Prime Minister Menachem Begin against Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank.

1995: Voted to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

2006: Co-sponsored a bill to cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority unless Hamas abides by certain conditions.

2010: Called for a "viable and contiguous" Palestinian state after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government announced the construction of more settler homes in the middle of his trip to Israel.

2015: Pushed to increase military aid to Israel to assuage concerns over the Iran deal.

July 2019: Ruled out moving the US Embassy back to Tel Aviv but promised to re-open the East Jerusalem Consulate for Palestinians. 

July 2019: Called Israel's occupation of the West Bank "a significant problem" when approached by pro-Palestinain activists but also called on Palestinians to "stop the hate." 

July 2019: Endorsed resuming Palestinian aid while calling on Arab states to increase their "financial and diplomatic support" for Palestinian institutions and to normalize ties with Israel. 

2003: Voted for Syria sanctions package. 

2012: Opposed President Obama's decision to arm Syrian opposition groups against President Bashar al-Assad.

2013: Supported President Obama's Capitol Hill push for a military authorization to strike Bashar al-Assad's forces.

2013: Supported President Obama's UN-backed deal with Russia to remove chemical weapons from Syria in lieu of military action.

2014: Supported US military action against the Islamic State.

2016: Called on Syrian Kurdish forces to pull back east of the Euphrates River.

Tony Blinken

Tony Blinken served as Joe Biden’s foreign policy adviser on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 2002 to 2008. Prior to that he served on President Bill Clinton’s National Security Council (NSC), ultimately becoming the president’s senior director for European and Canadian affairs.

When Biden became vice president in 2009, Blinken followed his boss back to the White House as his national security adviser, helping him handle the withdrawal of US combat troops from Iraq. President Barack Obama eventually tapped Blinken as his deputy national security adviser in 2013, where he helped design the president’s strategy against the Islamic State and participated in the Iran nuclear deal negotiations. After that, the Senate confirmed him 55-38 as deputy secretary of state. After Obama left office, Blinken co-founded the geopolitical consulting firm WestExec Advisers and joined the advisory boards for both Foreign Policy for America and National Security Action, two liberal advocacy groups. 

 

Nicholas Burns

Nicholas Burns launched his career in 1983 as a foreign service officer in the Middle East. After serving in Egypt, he moved to the US Consulate in Jerusalem, where he oversaw US economic aid for the Palestinians. Burns ascended through the State Department’s ranks with a brief stint on President Bill Clinton’s National Security Council from 1990 to 1995 as the senior director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasian affairs.

President George W. Bush tapped Burns as the US ambassador to NATO from 2001 to 2005. A supporter of the Iraq war, Burns eventually became Bush’s undersecretary of state for political affairs from 2005 to 2008. Shortly after leaving the State Department in 2008 to teach at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Burns called for “a very strong effort to get to the negotiating table with Iran.” Burns also serves as the director for the Aspen Strategy Group, a senior adviser at the Cohen Group – a consulting firm – and sits on the board for both the Council on Foreign Relations and the Atlantic Council. He also serves on the advisory board for the liberal advocacy groups Foreign Policy for America and National Security Action while consulting for Goldman Sachs.

 

Carlyn Reichel

Carlyn Reichel started her career as a presidential management fellow at the State Department in 2009, ultimately becoming a speechwriter for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. After leaving the State Department in 2013, she continued writing speeches for President Barack Obama’s National Security Council. She went on to become Vice President Joe Biden’s foreign policy speechwriter in 2015. After the vice president left office, Reichel joined him to serve as the communications director at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy & Global Engagement.


Cory Booker
Senator and former mayor of Newark, New Jersey

A former mayor of Newark, New Jersey, Cory Booker was first elected to the Senate in a special election in 2013 before winning a full term in 2014. Booker entered Congress with staunchly pro-Israel credentials, in part due to his close personal connection with right-wing Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who helped him solicit donations for his campaign. Booker’s vote for President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal in 2015, however, precipitated a public falling out with Boteach.

Booker joined the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2017. Since then, he has occasionally parted ways with the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), notably on President Trump’s decision to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Booker also voted against AIPAC-backed legislation targeting the pro-Palestinian BDS movement this year despite co-sponsoring an anti-boycott bill in 2018. Booker has argued that it’s illegal to keep US troops in Syria following the Islamic State’s territorial defeat. But he has also accused Trump of “ceding” territory in the war-torn country to Iran.

2013: Voted to ease restrictions on transferring detainees out of Guantanamo Bay.

August 2019: Endorsed repealing the 2001 military authorization, which serves as the legal basis for counterterrorism operations in the region. 

2016: Voted to block a $1 billion tank sale to Saudi Arabia.

2017: Voted to block a $500 million missile sale to Saudi Arabia.

2018: Called for sanctions on Saudi Arabia over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

2018: Voted to block a $300 million missile sale to Bahrain. 

Feb. 2019: Co-sponsored a resolution calling on Saudi Arabia to release detained women's rights activists.

March 2019: Voted to end US support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

June 2019: Voted to block a $750 million missile sale to Bahrain.

June 2019: Voted to block a $3 billion sale of attack helicopters to Qatar.

June 2019: Voted to block $8 billion in arms transfers to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. 

July 2019: Voted to sanction Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for Jamal Khashoggi's murder. 

July 2019: Vowed to block the transfer of US nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia. 

2013: Co-sponsored Iran sanctions legislation.

2015: Voted in favor of the Iran nuclear deal.

2015: Proposed joint US-Israeli military action as an option against Iran should it violate the nuclear deal.

2017: Voted for new Iran sanctions.

2018: Opposed President Trump's withdrawal from the nuclear deal but has not committed to re-entering the accord as president.

June 2019: Voted to prohibit military action against Iran absent congressional authorization. 

July 2019: Argued that the Iraq war undermined Washington's ability to address climate change, technological advancement and inequality. 

2014: Co-sponsored a military aid bill for Israel.

2017: Co-sponsored a bill rebuking UN Security Council resolution against West Bank settlements.

2017: Expressed concern over President Trump's decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, arguing that it should be "part of a larger peace process."

2018: Co-sponsored a bill that would codify into law $3.8 billion in annual military aid to Israel for 10 years.

2018: Opposed President Trump's elimination of Palestinian aid.

2018: Co-sponsored anti-BDS legislation.

Feb. 2019: Voted against anti-BDS legislation over free speech concerns.

May 2019: Blamed Hamas for civilian casualties in Gaza and defended "Israel's right to defend itself, full stop."

July 2019: Ruled out moving the US Embassy back to Tel Aviv 

2013: Initially opposed the Obama administration's proposal to strike the Bashar al-Assad government but later deferred to the president as he sought approval from Congress.

2016: Voted against a bill to increase vetting restrictions on Syrian refugees entering the United States.

2017: Opposed President Trump's airstrikes on the Bashar al-Assad government, citing legal concerns.

2018: Argued that it's illegal for the United States to keep troops in Syria after the Islamic State's defeat.

Jan. 2019: Opposed cutting Syria stabilization funding.

Feb. 2019: Voted against a resolution warning President Trump against precipitously withdrawing troops from Syria.

May 2019: Accused President Trump of "ceding or wanting to cede territory to the Iranians" in Syria.

Sophia Lalani

Sophia Lalani has served as Cory Booker’s defense and foreign policy adviser in the Senate since 2014. Prior to that she was a foreign policy fellow for Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., from 2013 to 2014, handling his Foreign Relations Committee portfolio in the Middle East and elsewhere throughout the globe. Lalani briefly lived in Saudi Arabia in 2011 as an urban planning consultant, where she developed a plan to expand west Riyadh. Before that she conducted field research in Jordan from 2009 to 2010 as part of her master’s in urban planning at Columbia University.


Pete Buttigieg
Mayor of South Bend, Indiana and Navy reservist

Pete Buttigieg has served as mayor of South Bend, Indiana, since 2012. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2014, where he was tasked with disrupting terrorists’ financial networks as an intelligence officer with the Navy Reserve.

After embracing the party’s pro-Israel wing, Buttigieg raised eyebrows in June 2019 after declaring that he would “take steps to make sure that American taxpayers won’t help foot the bill” should Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu make good on his pledge to annex parts of the West Bank. But he has ruled out moving the US Embassy back to Tel Aviv despite criticizing President Donald Trump for moving it to Jerusalem. He has also stated that the Palestinian leadership is not “the right kind of partner” for peace. An openly gay man, he has condemned both Saudi Arabia and Iran for their LGBT rights record. Additionally, he's rebuked his former employer — the consulting firm McKinsey and Company — for its work on behalf of Riyadh.

June 2019: Supports "focused" counterterrorism operations throughout the Middle East while calling for a reevaluation of the 2001 military authorization, which serves as their legal basis.

March 2019: Criticized the consulting firm McKinsey and Company — his former employer — for its work on behalf of Saudi Arabia.

April 2019: Condemned Saudi Arabia's LGBT and human rights record.

July 2019: Vowed to "reset" US-Saudi relations and end US involvement in the Yemen war while maintaining some intelligence-sharing capabilities. 

January 2019: Criticized Iran's anti-LGBT rights record. 

May 2019: Endorsed reentering the nuclear deal.

May 2019: Opposed military action against Iran and raised concerns over President Trump's “escalation" with Tehran.

May 2019: Called on Congress to reassert its authority over the use of force.

May 2019: Denounced the 2003 Iraq invasion as "one of the worst foreign policy mistakes in American history."

May 2019: Opposes President Trump's plans to pardon US soldiers convicted of war crimes in Iraq.

April 2019: Condemned Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's campaign pledge to annex parts of the West Bank.

May 2019: Criticized President Trump's decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem as an intervention in domestic Israeli politics.

May 2019: Stated that "we don't have the right kinds of partners in leadership on the Palestinian side."

June 2019: Accused Prime Minister Netanyahu's government of "turning away from peace" and called on the United States to offer "tough and honest guidance" toward a two-state solution.

June 2019: Vowed that he would not allow US taxpayers to foot the bill for Israeli annexation of the West Bank.

June 2019: Ruled out moving the US Embassy back to Tel Aviv. 

July 2019: Called for an end to Israel's occupation of the West Bank when approached by pro-Palestinian activists. 

July 2019: Argued that the Netanyahu government has a "short-sighted focus on military responses" and criticized "the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza." 

January 2019: Insisted any US troop presence in Syria should be "well thought through" and "targeted to protect American interests," warning against a "slippery slope toward confrontation."

Doug Wilson

The Senate confirmed Doug Wilson as the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs in 2010, where he served until retiring in 2012. While at the Defense Department, he was responsible for developing Pentagon communications strategies for Iraq, Iran and counterterrorism — including the aftermath of the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden – alongside myriad other issues. The first openly gay person to be confirmed to a senior Pentagon position, Wilson also played a key role in the Barack Obama administration’s repeal of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy that barred LGBT individuals from openly serving in the military.

Wilson previously worked in communications for both Boeing and Microsoft and spent a year leading the centrist Democratic Leadership Council. After leading President Bill Clinton’s 1996 reelection campaign in Arizona, he went on to serve as the deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs from 1997 to 1999. He started his career as a foreign service information officer at the now-defunct US Information Agency (USIA), where he was stationed at the embassy in London during the Iran hostage crisis. He went on to serve as USIA’s director of congressional affairs in the early 1990s. Wilson is the chairman emeritus of the board of advisers for the Truman National Security Project, was the founding chairman of the board of directors for Harvard’s Public Diplomacy Collaborative and has served on the board of directors for Third Way, a centrist think tank. He is the former vice president for the consulting firm the Cohen Group as well as the Development for Business Executives for National Security. He currently sits on the advisory board for National Security Action, a foreign policy advocacy group dominated by former Obama administration officials.

 

Amanda Sloat

Amanda Sloat served as deputy assistant secretary of state for Southern Europe and Eastern Mediterranean Affairs from 2013 to 2016 and briefly coordinated Middle East policy on President Barack Obama’s National Security Council in 2013. Prior to that, she served as a senior adviser for European Affairs — including Turkey — at the State Department from 2011 to 2013. At both the State Department and White House, she coordinated European involvement in the anti-Islamic State coalition and on refugee flows.

Before joining the Obama administration, Sloat was a Democratic staffer on the House Foreign Relations Committee from 2007 to 2010, where she helped craft sanctions on Iran. And as a senior program officer with the National Democratic Institute from 2005 to 2007, she spent six months in Iraq managing a $28 million democratic development program. During that time, she also served as an election observer in the Gaza Strip. Sloat is currently a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a senior adviser at the Albright Stonebridge Group, an international consulting firm. At Brookings, she has called for “constructive and principled engagement” with Ankara, including the “use of economic leverage” and “expanded people-to-people ties” to salvage the US-Turkish relationship.

 

Vali Nasr

Vali Nasr is a professor of Middle East Studies and International Affairs at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He served as dean of the school from 2012 until stepping down in June 2019. He was previously a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and is a lifelong member of the Council on Foreign Relations. His academic career has spanned several universities, including Tufts’ Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and Harvard’s Belfer

Center, where he held a senior fellowship. Nasr is a prolific author of several books on the Middle East and Islamism and has focused extensively on Shiite Islam. He sat on the Foreign Policy Affairs Board, which provides independent advice to the secretary of state, under the Barack Obama administration. He was also the senior adviser to Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, the US special representative to Afghanistan, from 2009 to 2011. Nasr was born in Iran, educated in the United Kingdom and immigrated to the United States after the 1979 revolution.

 

Ned Price

Ned Price worked in the CIA as an analyst and then spokesman from 2006 until 2017, when he resigned after publicly condemning President Donald Trump’s treatment of the intelligence community. Since then he has served as a national security contributor for NBC News, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service, a lecturer at George Washington University and as the director of policy and communications at National Security Action, a liberal advocacy group run by former Barack Obama administration officials. He also sits on the advisory board for Foreign Policy for America, another advocacy group dominated by Democrats. While at the CIA, Price worked on loan to the National Security Council from 2014 to 2017 as a spokesman and special assistant to Obama. Before joining the CIA, Price worked briefly as an associate for The Cohen Group, a consulting firm.


Julian Castro
Former secretary of housing and urban development and mayor of San Antonio, Texas

Julian Castro served as secretary of housing and urban development from 2014 to 2017 and was the youngest member of President Barack Obama’s Cabinet. Prior to that, he served as mayor of San Antonio, Texas, from 2009 to 2014. In 2011, he led a delegation of businessmen and clergy to Israel, where he signed a city-friendship agreement with Tel Aviv as well as a memorandum of understanding with Eilat to help improve San Antonio’s water management.

As housing secretary, Castro defended Obama’s negotiations with Iran and the president's tense relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by pointing to the administration’s military assistance to Israel. On the campaign trail, he has joined other candidates in lambasting Prime Minister Netanyahu’s pledge to annex parts of the West Bank. He has also accused President Donald Trump of undermining the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. While calling Trump administration “hell-bent” on war with Iran, he has also called for the United States and its allies to coordinate sanctions in order to deter Iranian aggression.

2013: Supported President Obama's negotiations with Iran. 

April 2019: Supported reentering the nuclear deal. 

June 2019: Accused the Trump administration of being "hell-bent on moving us toward a war with Iran."

June 2019: Called for engagement with allies to "put pressure on Iran through sanctions and other ways to ensure that they don't act in an aggressive way." 

Says he opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq. 

2011: Signed a friendship agreement with Tel Aviv as mayor of San Antonio and a water management memorandum with Eilat.

2013: Voiced support for security assistance to Israel under President Obama. 

April 2019: Criticized Prime Minister Netanyahu's pledge to annex parts of the West Bank and accused President Trump of "abandoning our position as a good faith partner in the Middle East peace process."

2018: Supported a planned withdrawal from Syria.

Kamala Harris
Senator and former attorney general of California

A career prosecutor, Kamala Harris won her first election in 2004 as district attorney for San Francisco. She went on to serve as the state’s attorney general from 2011 to 2016. She was elected to her first term as US senator for California in 2016. She sits on the Intelligence Committee, which notably oversees the CIA and other covert assets and assesses threats from the Middle East and other areas.

Harris supported President Barack Obama’s Iran nuclear deal during her 2015 Senate campaign. But she has come under criticism from her party’s left flank over her support for Israel. In her campaign she has sought a middle ground in the increasingly fractured Democratic politics over the country. While vocally defending Israel’s right to respond to Gaza rocket attacks, her campaign has voiced concerns about Israel’s potential annexation of parts of the West Bank.

2016: Campaigned on a platform of acting against governments that support terrorism and countering hate and radicalization online.

2017: Voted to block a $500 million missile sale to Saudi Arabia.

2018: Voted to block a $300 million missile sale to Bahrain.

February 2019: Co-sponsored legislation requiring the Trump administration to publicly report on Saudi Arabia's murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

March 2019: Voted to end US support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

April 2019: Called on Saudi Arabia to release political prisoners.

June 2019: Voted to block a $750 million missile sale to Bahrain.

June 2019: Voted to block a $3 billion sale of attack helicopters to Qatar.

June 2019: Voted to block $8 billion in arms transfers to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. 

September 2019: Vowed to "reevaluate" US-Saudi relations. 

2016: Supported the nuclear deal during her Senate campaign.

2017: Voted for new Iran sanctions.

2018: Opposed President Trump's withdrawal from the accord and supports reentering the deal.

June 2019: Voted to prohibit funding for military action against Iran absent congressional authorization.

Says she “staunchly opposed the war in Iraq from the very beginning.”

2017: Co-sponsored a bill rebuking a UN Security Council resolution against West Bank settlements.

2017: Called for at least $3.8 billion in annual military aid to Israel at AIPAC conference.

2017: Voted for a pro-Israel resolution in favor of moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

2018: Opposed President Trump's elimination of Palestinian aid.

February 2019: Voted against anti-boycott, divestment and sanctions legislation over free speech concerns.

April 2019: Voiced support for Israel's right to defend itself against rocket attacks from Gaza.

April 2019: Warned against unilateral action to annex the West Bank.

2016: Supported a multilateral coalition to fight the Islamic State.

2017: Opposed President Trump's military strikes and his ban on Syrian refugees.

2018: Opposed President Trump's airstrikes, citing legal concerns.

February 2019: Voted against a resolution warning President Trump against precipitously withdrawing troops from Syria.

Matt Williams

Matt Williams became Kamala Harris’ national security adviser in February 2019 after his former boss, Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., lost his 2018 reelection bid. Williams had repeatedly worked for Nelson throughout his career, starting as his special assistant from 2007 to 2008, then returning as a legislative assistant in 2014. Nelson promoted Williams to his national security adviser in 2017. In between his stints in Nelson’s office, he worked as an analyst for the Crumpton Group, an international affairs consulting firm from 2013 to 2014 and as an intelligence analyst at the Defense Department from 2008 to 2011.

 

Matt Spence

Matt Spence served as President Barack Obama’s deputy assistant secretary of defense for Middle East policy from 2012 to 2015 — the height of the US campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. During that time, he helped broker a massive $10 billion arms sale in missiles, warplanes and troop transports to Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to bolster the three countries’ defenses against Iran. He also served as a key liaison to Israel and point man for the Iron Dome missile defense program. Immediately prior to that, Spence served

on the National Security Council as Obama’s senior director for international economic affairs between 2011 to 2012 and as a special assistant to national security advisers James Jones and Tom Donilon from 2009 to 2011. Spence is currently the managing director at Guggenheim Partners, a financial services consulting firm. Additionally, he is a co-founder and current board member of the Truman National Security Project and serves on the board of advisers for the hawkish Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Center on Cyber and Technology Innovation.


Amy Klobuchar
Senator and former Minnesota county attorney

Amy Klobuchar has represented Minnesota in the Senate since 2007. Prior to that she served as a prosecutor after beginning her career as a corporate lawyer. Boasting close ties to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Klobuchar was one of only two presidential candidates to vote for an anti-BDS bill in the Senate earlier this year. But she also became the first Democratic candidate to criticize Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s electoral alliance with the extremist Jewish Power party — shortly after AIPAC and other pro-Israel groups did the same.

Klobuchar voted to withdraw troops from Iraq over the objections of President George W. Bush but has taken a more hawkish stance on Syria than most of her party. She notably endorsed President Donald Trump’s 2017 and 2018 airstrikes on Syrian military targets following President Bashar al-Assad’s repeated use of chemical weapons. While she has called on Trump to counter Iranian activity in Syria, she also voted against legislation warning the president against rapidly withdrawing troops from the war-torn country.

2009: Voted to prevent President Obama from relesing Guantanamo Bay detainees. 

2013: Voted to ease restrictions on transferring detainees out of Guantanamo Bay.

August 2019: Endorsed repealing the 2001 military authorization, which serves as the legal basis for counterterrorism operations in the region. 

2016: Voted to block a $1 billion tank sale to Saudi Arabia. 

2017: Voted to block a $500 million missile sale to Saudi Arabia.

2018: Floated sanctions on Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for Jamal Khashoggi's murder.

2018: Called on the Trump administration to suspend civil nuclear negotiations with Saudi Arabia.

2018: Voted against blocking a $300 million missile sale to Bahrain. 

March 2019: Voted to end US support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

April 2019: Called on Saudi Arabia to release political prisoners. 

June 2019: Voted to block a $750 million missile sale to Bahrain. 

June 2019: Voted to block a $3 billion sale of attack helicopters to Qatar. 

June 2019: Voted to block $8 billion in arms transfers to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. 

2007: Voted against declaring the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization.

2010: Voted for more Iran sanctions.

2013: Co-sponsored legislation to place more sanctions on Tehran. 

2015: Voted for the nuclear deal.

2017: Voted for new Iran sanctions.

2018: Opposed President Trump's withdrawal from the nuclear deal and has vowed to "negotiate back" into the accord. 

June 2019: Supported negotiating extensions on the nuclear deal's sunset provisions. 

June 2019: Voted to prohibit funding for military action against Iran absent congressional authorization.

2007: Voted to withdraw troops from Iraq over President Bush's objections.

2007: Voted for the Biden resolution calling for a federalized Iraq along sectarian and ethnic lines.

Supports a small residual troop presence in Iraq to continue supporting Baghdad in counterterrorism operations.

2012: Co-sponsored a resolution recognizing Israel's right to defend itself against Hamas rocket attacks. 

2014: Co-sponsored military aid bill for Israel.

2017: Co-sponsored a bill rebuking UN Security Council resolution against West Bank settlements.

2017: Voted for a pro-Israel resolution in favor of moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem. 

2018: Opposed President Trump's elimination of Palestinian aid.

2018: Co-sponsored a bill that would codify into law $3.8 billion in annual military aid to Israel for 10 years.

Feb. 2019: Voted for anti-BDS legislation. 

Feb. 2019: Condemned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's electoral alliance with the far-right Jewish Power party.

July 2019: Ruled out moving the US Embassy back to Tel Aviv. 

2015: Supported intensified airstrikes and US troop deployments to fight the Islamic State.

2016: Voted against increasing vetting restrictions on Syrian refugees entering the United States.

2017: Supported the Trump administration's airstrikes against Syria but called on the president to consult with Congress.

Feb. 2019: Voted against a resolution warning President Trump against precipitously withdrawing troops from Syria.

Calls on the Trump administration to counter Iranian activity in Syria.

Kevin Lawson

Kevin Lawson signed on as Amy Klobuchar’s senior policy adviser in the Senate in 2018. His portfolio includes foreign affairs, defense, cybersecurity and homeland security. Prior to that he served as a senior adviser to Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller – as well as her predecessor, Ellen Tauscher – from 2011 to 2016. Lawson worked in the department’s bureau of Arms Control and International Security while the Barack Obama administration was negotiating the Iran nuclear deal.


Beto O'Rourke
Former congressman and El Paso, Texas city councilman

Beto O’Rourke served in the House of Representatives from 2013 to 2019. Prior to that, he served on the El Paso city council from 2005 to 2011 following a brief musical and business career. The liberal lobbying group J Street shelled out more than $250,000 for his failed 2018 Senate bid against Texas Republican Ted Cruz, making the dovish group his largest campaign donor.

While in the House, he sat on the Armed Services Committee, where he often bucked the bipartisan majority of his colleagues on Israel and Iran policy. Citing Palestinian civilian casualties in the 2014 Gaza war, he was one of only eight lawmakers to vote against $225 million in additional funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system. And he was also only one of 20 House members to side with President Barack Obama and vote against additional Iran sanctions in 2013. He was also in the minority in voting against a 2017 resolution rebuking the UN Security Council for its resolution against West Bank settlements. On the 2020 campaign trail, he has called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “racist,” while also questioning whether the Palestinian Authority is an “open partner” for a two-state solution.

2015: Opposed restrictions on transferring detainees out of Guantanamo Bay. 

July 2019: Vowed to bring US troops home from Yemen. 

August 2019: Endorsed repealing the 2001 military authorization, which serves as the legal basis for counterterrorism operations in the region. 

2018: Called for "consequences" on Saudi Arabia after the Jamal Khashoggi murder. 

May 2019: Accused the Trump administration of helping Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bomb Yemen "into the last century." 

August 2019: Endorsed ending US support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. 

September 2019: Vowed to sanction Saudis responsible for Jamal Khashoggi murder and to call for an end to Riyadh's repression of women's rights activists. 

2013: Voted against new Iran sanctions despite overwhelming bipartisan support, siding with President Obama and just 19 other lawmakers. 

2015: Voted for the nuclear deal. 

2017: Voted for new Iran sanctions. 

April 2019: Said he supports reentering the nuclear deal. 

May 2019: Accused President Trump of "provoking yet another war in the Middle East" by deploying additional troops to counter Iran. 

2014: Voted to keep US troops out of a combat role in Iraq. 

2016: Argued that the 2003 invasion of Iraq led to the rise of the Islamic State and Middle East destabilization. 

April 2019: Vowed to end US military involvement in Iraq. 

2014: Voted against additional funding for Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system, citing the death of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza war. 

2017: Voted against a bill rebuking a UN Security Council resolution against West Bank settlements. 

2018: Condemned President Trump's Jerusalem embassy move as "absolutely unnecessarily provocative."

2018: Co-sponsored a bill that would codify into law $3.8 billion in annual military aid to Israel for 10 years. 

2018: Endorsed by liberal lobbying group J Street for his Senate bid. 

March 2019: Questioned whether the Palestinian Authority is "an open partner" for a two-state solution. 

April 2019: Condemned Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu as "racist." 

July 2019: Ruled out moving the US Embassy back to Tel Aviv. 

September 2019: Warned that annexing the West Bank would undermine the Palestinian right to self-determination. 

September 2019: Vowed to "support and sustain" a "strong relationship with Israel" while holding Palestinains accountable for Gaza rocket attacks and Israelis accountable for "disproportionate use of force." 

2013: Called on President Obama to get congressional approval before striking President Bashar al-Assad's forces in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack and to seek an "international consensus" on condemning the attack.

2014: Voted against arming Syrian rebel groups against the Islamic State. 

2015: Voted against increased vetting for Syrian refugees. 

2018: Opposed President Trump's airstrikes against Assad's forces, citing legal concerns. 

January 2019: Argued that "there may be a very good reason" for President Trump to withdraw troops from Syria. 

Bernie Sanders
Senator and former mayor of Burlington, Vt.

Bernie Sanders became the first independent elected to Congress in 1990 after serving eight years as mayor of Burlington, Vermont. He served in the House until 2007, when he became a US senator caucusing with the Democrats. He is the only candidate to have lived in Israel, staying on a socialist Kibbutz for several months in the 1960s. He drew a significant contrast with Hillary Clinton during his failed 2016 primary campaign by running on a pro-Palestinian platform as a Jewish candidate. He skipped the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) 2016 policy summit and instead delivered a speech criticizing Israel’s human rights record.

He has focused more on foreign policy in the lead up to the 2020 race and was one of only two senators to vote against additional Iran sanctions in 2017. He is one of Capitol Hill’s most outspoken critics of US involvement in Yemen, mustering enough bipartisan support to pass a resolution ending US support for the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Iran-backed Houthis. Although President Trump ultimately vetoed the stand-alone resolution, Democrats are pushing to get it through as part of a larger bill.

2001: Voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, which became the basis for counterterrorism operations in the Middle East.

2009: Voted to prevent President Barack Obama from releasing Guantanamo Bay detainees.

2013: Voted against easing restrictions on transferring detainees out of Guantanamo Bay.

2015: Vowed to continue the US drone program, but has raised concerns about civilian casualties.

August 2019: Endorsed repealing the 2001 military authorization, which serves as the legal basis for counterterrorism operations in the region. 

2015: Accused Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar of doing too little to fight the Islamic State due to their preoccupation with Yemen's Houthis.

2016: Voted to block a $1 billion tank sale to Saudi Arabia.

2017: Voted to block a $500 million missile sale to Saudi Arabia.

2018: Called for sanctions on Saudi Arabia for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

2018: Voted to block a $300 million missile sale to Bahrain.

May 2019: Passed a war powers resolution to end US support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen but failed to gain enough votes to override President Trump's veto.

June 2019: Voted to block a $750 million missile sale to Bahrain. 

June 2019: Voted to block a $3 billion sale of attack helicopters to Qatar.

June 2019: Voted to block $8 billion in arms transfers to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. 

July 2019: Criticized Saudi Arabia for treating women "like third-class citizens." 

July 2019: Vowed to "sit down in a room" for negotiations with Saudi leadership. 

July 2019: Accused Saudi Arabia of trying to "drag the US into a conflict with Iran" and said Riyadh needs to be "part of the solution" to regional stability. 

2007: Voted against declaring the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization.

2010: Voted for more Iran sanctions. 

2015: Voted in favor of the nuclear deal.

2017: Voted along with only one other senator against additional Iran sanctions.

2018: Opposed President Trump's withdrawal from the nuclear deal and supports reentering the agreement.

June 2019: Voted to prohibit funding for military action against Iran absent congressional authorization.

July 2019: Vowed to "sit down in a room" for negotiations with Iranian leadership. 

1991: Voted against the first Gulf War.

1998: Opposed President Bill Clinton's airstrikes against Iraq.

2002: Voted against the Authorization for Use of Military Force in Iraq.

2007: Opposed President George W. Bush's troop surge in Iraq and called for US withdrawal.

2007: Voted for the Biden resolution calling for a federalized Iraq along sectarian and ethnic lines.

2015: Supported President Obama's airstrikes against the Islamic State but called for limits on US ground troops.

1995: Voted against moving the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

2016: Skipped AIPAC's annual conference during his presidential bid to deliver a speech in Utah criticizing Israel's occupation of the West Bank, its blockade of the Gaza Strip and its 2014 military offensive against Hamas.

2017: Voted for a pro-Israel resolution in favor of moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem. 

2017: Floated military aid cuts to Israel in an interview with The Intercept.

2017: Co-signed a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urging him not to demolish a West Bank village and opposing settlement expansion.

2018: Opposed President Trump's relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

2018: Opposed President Trump's elimination of Palestinian aid.

2018: Condemned Israel for firing on Palestinians during Gaza border protests.

2018: Endorsed by liberal lobbying group J Street for his Senate reelection bid.

2018: Labelled Prime Minister Netanyahu's government "racist."

February 2019: Voted against anti-BDS legislation over free speech concerns. 

July 2019: Endorsed using military aid to Israel as leverage to change the government's behavior. 

July 2019: Vowed to "sit down in a room" for negotiations with Israeli and Palestinian leadership.

 September 2019: Condemned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's plan to annex parts of the West Bank. 

2003: Voted for Syria sanctions package. 

2013: Expressed skepticism of President Obama's push to arm Syrian opposition groups against President Bashar al-Assad.

2013: Supported President Obama's UN-backed deal with Russia to remove chemical weapons from Syria.

2014: Supported US airstrikes against the Islamic State but voiced "concerns" over arming Syrian opposition groups in the fight.

2017 & 2018: Denounced the Trump administration's strikes against Assad's forces as "illegal and unauthorized.”

February 2019: Voted against a resolution warning President Trump against precipitously withdrawing troops from Syria.

Matt Duss

Matt Duss entered the foreign policy world as a writer in the liberal blogosphere, focusing on the Middle East, US military intervention, Islamophobia and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. After working as a staffer for the Center for American Progress, Duss become the national security editor for the liberal think tank’s blog — ThinkProgress — in 2008. ThinkProgress’ pro-Palestinian stances under Duss drew the ire of pro-Israel groups, prompting him to accuse the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the hawkish Foundation for Defense of Democracies of orchestrating a coordinated opposition campaign against the blog. Duss became president of the pro-Palestinian Foundation for Middle East Peace in 2014, leaving ThinkProgress three years after Neera Tanden, a staunch pro-Israel supporter and Bernie Sanders critic, took charge of the Center for American Progress.

As Bernie Sanders’ failed 2016 campaign against Hillary Clinton wound down, the senator tapped Duss to argue in favor of singling out Israel’s occupation of the West Bank in the Democratic party’s 2016 platform. (Clinton’s rival pro-Israel delegates ultimately won out, forestalling any reference to the occupation.) Sanders hired Duss as his Senate foreign policy adviser in 2017, where he has spearheaded the lawmaker’s efforts to end US involvement in the Yemen war.

 

Robert Malley

The son of an Egyptian-born Jewish journalist and an American who worked for the UN delegation of Algeria’s National Liberation Front, Robert Malley attended Harvard Law School with President Barack Obama. After clerking for Supreme Court Justice Byron White from 1991 to 1992, Malley became a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, focusing on Algeria. President Bill Clinton tapped Malley to serve as the National Security Council’s director for democracy, human rights and humanitarian affairs in 1994. He went on to become the executive assistant to national security adviser Sandy Berger in 1996 and then served as Clinton’s special assistant for Arab-Israeli affairs from 1998 to 2001.

During the George W. Bush administration, Malley became the International Crisis Group’s program director for the Middle East and North Africa, where he continued to focus on Arab-Israeli affairs, US policy in Iraq and Islamist movements. Malley briefly served as an informal adviser to Obama during his 2008 presidential bid. But the campaign severed ties with him after reports emerged that Malley had met with Hamas officials as part of his work for the International Crisis Group. That didn’t stop Obama from tapping him as the National Security Council’s coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf in 2014. In that role, he served as the White House’s lead negotiator for the Iran nuclear deal and became Obama’s point man for the campaign against the Islamic State. After leaving the Obama White House, Malley returned to the International Crisis Group as its president and CEO. He also sits on the advisory boards for Foreign Policy for America and National Security Action, two liberal advocacy groups dominated by former Obama administration officials. 

 

Suzanne DiMaggio

Suzanne DiMaggio has nearly two decades of experience in back-channel diplomacy with private individuals in countries that do not enjoy formal relations with the United States government, particularly Iran and North Korea. A specialist in the Middle East, Asia, arms control and nonproliferation, DiMaggio is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and an associate senior fellow at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. She is joining Andrew Bacevich, the non-interventionist academic and Trita Parsi, the former president of the National Iranian American Council, in co-founding an anti-war think tank – the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft – which is expected to set up shop in November 2019.

After establishing a long-running dialogue between Iranians and Americans in 2002, she joined the New America Foundation in 2014 as the director of the think tank’s US-Iran initiative, which aimed to improve relations between Washington and Tehran. Prior to that she served as the vice president of global policy programs at the Asia Society from 2007 to 2014, the vice president of policy programs at the United Nations Association of the USA from 1998 to 2007 and a program officer at the United Nations University from 1993 to 1998.


Elizabeth Warren
Senator and consumer advocate

Elizabeth Warren began her career as an academic specializing in bankruptcy law. Following the 2008 financial crisis, she served as the first head of a panel overseeing the US government’s purchase of toxic assets and oversaw the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She has represented Massachusetts in the Senate since 2013 and joined the Armed Services Committee in 2017.

Warren has used her spot on the committee to call out the Trump administration’s support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen and civilian casualties resulting from US-made bombs. Following the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, she has pressed lobbyists and consultants on their work for Saudi Arabia as part of her broader lobbying reform efforts. Warren has moved left on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during her time in office, recently assailing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over corruption allegations.

2013: Voted against easing restrictions on transferring detainees out of Guantanamo Bay.

2014: Called for reforms to better address civilian casualties in US wars.

August 2019: Endorsed repealing the 2001 military authorization, which serves as the legal basis for counterterrorism operations in the region. 

2016: Voted to block a $1 billion tank sale to Saudi Arabia.

2017: Voted to block a $500 million missile sale to Saudi Arabia.

2018: Pressed the Pentagon on civilian casualties in Yemen and its ability to track Saudi-led coalition airstrikes.

2018: Pushed Saudi lobbyists to disclose their dealings with the Trump administration in the aftermath of Jamal Khashoggi's murder.

2018: Voted to block a $300 million missile sale to Bahrain. 

March 2019: Voted to end US support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

April 2019: Called on Saudi Arabia to release political prisoners.

May 2019: Condemned the Trump administration's Iran emergency declaration to bypass Congress in arms transfers to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

June 2019: Voted to block a $750 million missile sale to Bahrain.

June 2019: Voted to block a $3 billion sale of attack helicopters to Qatar.

June 2019: Voted to block $8 billion in arms transfers to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. 

August 2019: Pressed President Trump's campaign inauguration chairman, Tom Barrack, on lobbying the White House for a Saudi civil nuclear deal after allegedly solicting Saudi funds for his business. 

2015: Voted in favor of the nuclear deal.

2017: Voted for new Iran sanctions.

2018: Opposed President Trump's withdrawal from the nuclear deal and supports reentering the accord.

June 2019: Voted to prohibit funding for military action against Iran absent congressional authorization.

2014: Co-sponsored a resolution to repeal the 2002 war authorization for Iraq.

2014: Supported the Obama administration's airstrikes against the Islamic State.

2018: Called for a US troop withdrawal from Iraq.

2014: Blamed Hamas for civilian casualties during Israel's offensive on the Gaza Strip.

2014: Co-sponsored a military aid bill for Israel.

2017: Voted for a pro-Israel resolution in favor of moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

2017: Co-signed a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu urging him not to demolish a West Bank village and opposing settlement expansion.

2018: Opposed President Trump's relocation of the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

2018: Opposed President Trump's elimination of Palestinian aid.

2018: Called on the Israeli military to "exercise restraint" in response to Gaza border protests.

2018: Endorsed by liberal lobbying group J Street for her Senate reelection bid. 

2018: Co-sponsored a bill that would codify into law $3.8 billion in annual military aid to Israel for 10 years.

February 2019: Voted against anti-BDS legislation on free speech grounds.

March 2019: Accused Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu of "embracing right-wing extremism" and lambasted him for his legal troubles.

July 2019: Promised to push back against Israel's occupation of the West Bank when approcahed by pro-Palestinian activists. 

2014: Called for a multilateral approach to destroy the Islamic State.

2014: Voted against arming Syrian rebel groups against the Islamic State.

2016: Voted against increased vetting for Syrian refugees.

2017 & 2018: Opposed President Trump's airstrikes against Bashar al-Assad's forces, citing legal concerns.

February 2019: Voted against a resolution warning the Trump administration against precipitously withdrawing troops from Syria.

Sasha Baker

Elizabeth Warren tapped Sasha Baker as her national security adviser in 2017. Baker served as the deputy chief of staff to Defense Secretary Ash Carter from 2015 to 2017, where she was awarded the Defense Department’s medal for distinguished public service. At the Pentagon, Baker was responsible for preparing the Defense Department budget.

Baker worked in the White House’s Office of Management and Budget from 2011 to 2015 – first as a program examiner in the National Security and Homeland Security divisions and then as a special assistant to the Office of Management and Budget director. While at the Office of Management and Budget, Baker did a six-month detail as a special assistant to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where she focused on defense budgetary measures. She began her public service career as a staffer with the House Armed Services Committee’s oversight panel. While completing her master’s in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, she held a global affairs fellowship at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

 

Jonathan Rue

Jonathan Rue joined Elizabeth Warren’s Senate office as a defense fellow in 2017 and currently serves as her senior defense policy adviser on Capitol Hill. He earned his master’s in international relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2007 and then deployed to Iraq as an intelligence officer with the Marine Corps and a military adviser to the Iraqi army. Following his military service, Rue specialized in defense budgetary issues and legislative analysis from 2012-2015 as the chief of staff and senior policy adviser for the Punaro Group, a small consulting firm. He went on to provide congressional outreach as part of the Marine Corps’ legislative affairs office from 2015 to 2018. He is a member of the Truman National Security Project defense council and has written for multiple outlets, including Foreign Affairs, the Guardian and War on the Rocks.

 

Feras Sleiman

Feras Sleiman joined Elizabeth Warren’s Senate office as a legislative correspondent in 2013. He went on to become a legislative aide for the Massachusetts senator in 2015 and then her assistant counsel in 2017. Sleiman handles a wide-ranging legislative portfolio for Warren, including foreign affairs and defense issues in addition to her signature domestic issues such as banking, trade and consumer protection. He graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2012 and previously worked in human rights law.

 

Ganesh Sitaraman

Ganesh Sitaraman is a Vanderbilt law professor who has advised Elizabeth Warren since she chaired the congressional oversight panel on the government’s purchase of toxic assets following the 2008 financial crisis. His current legal research focuses on foreign relations and on constitutional and administrative law. He went on leave from Vanderbilt from 2011 to 2013 to advise Warren on her successful 2012 Senate campaign and then serve as her senior counsel. Before joining Vanderbilt, Sitaraman lectured at Harvard Law School. He is a principal member of the Truman National Security Project, an advisory board member of the liberal advocacy group Foreign Policy for America and was previously a research fellow at the Counterinsurgency Training Center in Afghanistan and a visiting fellow at the Center for a New American Security. Sitaraman has written on foreign and domestic policy for numerous outlets, including The New York Times and War on the Rocks, where he has argued in favor of a new set of progressive foreign policy principles.


Andrew Yang
Tech entrepreneur

Andrew Yang is a New York entrepreneur and the founder of Venture for America, a nonprofit fellowship program that prepares recent college graduates for careers as entrepreneurs by placing them with startups across the country. Yang is running primarily on an economic platform but generally supports limiting engagement in the Middle East. 

As part of his “Foreign Policy First” platform, he has vowed to sign a repeal of current military authorizations, which serve as the legal basis for counterterrorism operations throughout the region. He supports the phased withdrawal of US troops from Syria. And he has called for empowering regional partners to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, warning that “America should not take all these responsibilities onto itself.” 

March 2019: Called for publicly disclosing the number of civilian casualties resulting from US drone strikes. 

Supports repealing existing military authorizations, which serve as the legal basis for counterterrorism operations throughout the region. 

August 2019: Endorsed ending US support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. 

September 2019: Called for a "reset" in US-Saudi relations because of the Yemen war and Jamal Khashoggi murder. 

June 2019: Supports reentering the nuclear deal and said "escalating tensions with Iran are a massive move in the wrong direction." 

July 2019: Clarified that he would renegotiate sunset provisions in nuclear deal as part of a new accord

February 2019: Called on Washington to "empower partners in the region" to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, arguing that "America should not take all these responsibilities onto itself." 

June 2019: Called some Israeli actions "deeply problematic" but hesitated to say that they violated international human rights standards. 

August 2019: Vowed to move the US Embassy back to Tel Aviv. 

September 2019: Called for an end to Israeli settlement expansion and the resumption of economic and humanitarian aid for Palestinains. 

April 2019: Supported withdrawing US troops from Syria "over time."

Candidates who did not qualify for third debate but are still running:


Michael Bennet
Senator and former superintendent of public schools in Denver, Colorado

Michael Bennet has represented Colorado in the Senate since 2009 and sits on the Intelligence Committee, which oversees the CIA and other covert US activities. The son of a Holocaust survivor who identifies as Christian, Bennet spent several years as a director for a venture capital firm before becoming the chief of staff for then-Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper — who is now one of his primary opponents — and ultimately became the superintendent of Denver public schools.

Unlike most of his colleagues, Bennet has so far refrained from publicly criticizing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He has said that one of his first calls as president would be to the Israeli prime minister to “remind them that our relationship is strong.” He was also one of only two presidential candidates to vote for an anti-boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) bill in the Senate this year that has drawn free-speech concerns. He opposed President Donald Trump’s decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, arguing that it undermines the peace process with the Palestinians. He also stands out from his opponents on Syria as the only 2020 hopeful in the Senate to vote for a resolution rebuking Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from the war-torn country.  

2009: Voted to prevent President Obama from releasing Guantanamo Bay detainees.

2013: Voted to ease restrictions on transferring detainees out of Guantanamo Bay. 

2016: Opposed relocating Guantanamo Bay detainees to Colorado. 

August 2019: Endorsed repealing the 2001 military authorization, which serves as the legal basis for counterterrorism operations in the region. 

2016: Voted against blocking a $1 billion tank sale to Saudi Arabia.

2017: Voted to block a $500 million missile sale to Saudi Arabia.

2018: Urged Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin not to attend a Saudi investment summit following Jamal Khashoggi's murder. 

2018: Voted against blocking a $300 million missile sale to Bahrain. 

March 2019: Voted to end US support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. 

June 2019: Voted to block a $750 million missile sale to Bahrain.

June 2019: Voted to block a $3 billion sale of attack helicopters to Qatar. 

June 2019: Voted to block $8 billion in arms transfers to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. 

2010: Voted for more Iran sanctions.

2013: Co-sponsored a bill to place additional sanctions on Iran. 

2015: Voted for the nuclear deal. 

2017: Voted for new Iran sanctions. 

2018: Opposed President Trump's withdrawal from the nuclear deal but has not committed to reentering the accord as president. 

June 2019: Voted to prohibit funding for military action against Iran absent congressional authorization. 

2011: Praised the withdrawal of US troops as "a responsible end to the war in Iraq." 

May 2019: Called the 2003 Iraq invasion "one of the worst mistakes America ever made." 

2012: Co-sponsored a resolution recognizing Israel's right to defend itself against Hamas rocket attacks.

2014: Co-sponsored military aid bill for Israel. 

2017: Co-sponsored a bill rebuking UN Security Council resolution against West Bank settlements. 

2017: Argued that moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem "undermines the prospect for negotiations and risks destabilizing an already volatile region." 

2018: Co-sponsored a bill to codify into law $3.8 billion in annual military aid to Israel for 10 years. 

2018: Co-sponsored an anti-BDS bill. 

February 2019: Voted for anti-BDS legislation. 

May 2019: Blamed a flare-up in Israel-Gaza violence on Hamas rocket attacks. 

May 2019: Promised that one of his first three calls as president would be to the Israeli prime minister to "remind them that our relationship is strong."

2013: Supported President Obama's request to Congress for strikes on President Bashar al-Assad's forces. 

2016: Voted against increasing vetting restrictions on Syrian refugees entering the United States. 

2017 & 2018: Criticized President Trump for his strikes on President Assad's forces without a congressional authorization or a broader Syria strategy. 

February 2019: Voted for a resolution warning President Trump against precipitously withdrawing troops from Syria. 

Steve Bullock
Governor and former attorney general of Montana 

Steve Bullock has served as the governor of Montana since 2013. Having narrowly won his 2016 reelection in a state that President Donald Trump carried by more than 20 points, Bullock hews closely to the centrist wing of the Democratic party. Before becoming Montana’s governor, he served as the state’s attorney general from 2009 to 2013. Prior to that he worked in Washington at the international law firm Steptoe & Johnson and as an adjunct professor at George Washington University Law School.

Bullock has not focused much on foreign policy, opting instead to center his campaign around campaign finance reform — his cause celebre as Montana’s attorney general. However, he stands out from the majority of other Democratic candidates with his refusal to reenter the Iran nuclear deal “word for word.” Still, he has vowed to end US support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen and has criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s policies in the West Bank and Gaza, putting him more in line with other candidates — both centrist and progressive.

June 2019: Endorsed the death penalty for terrorists. 

August 2019: Endorsed repealing the 2001 military authorization, which serves as the legal basis for counterterrorism operations in the region. 

July 2019: Vowed to end US support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen and join the United Nations in a peacekeeping role. 

June 2019: Ruled out reentering the nuclear deal "word for word" but also criticized President Donald Trump for failing to work with allies "to keep Iran in check." 

June 2019: Stated that there's "no reason where we should get" to the point of military force against Iran. 

June 2019: Argued that there are "challenges in the decisions" that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made regarding the Palestinian territories. 

July 2019: Argued that President Trump's Jerusalem embassy move made a two-state solution "much more difficult" but ruled out moving the embassy back to Tel Aviv. 

2015: Refused to ban Syrian refugees from Montana but reviewed the state's resettlement protocols. 

Bill de Blasio
Mayor of New York City and former public advocate for the city

Bill de Blasio has served as the mayor of New York City since 2014. Prior to that he was the city's public advocate from 2010 to 2013 and a city councilman between 2002 and 2009. As the leader of the city with the nation's largest Jewish population, he has had to navigate between his liberal base and support for Israel. While he endorsed the nuclear deal with Iran, de Blasio previously stated that “the only thing the Iranian government understands” is military and economic force. During an appearance before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's (AIPAC) annual conference this year, he made a progressive case against the pro-Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign, declaring that "Israel at its core is there to shelter an oppressed people." Despite his pro-Israel positions, he has criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for backing off a two-state solution as far back as 2015 — before most of his opponents started openly lambasting the Israeli leader.

Coming from the city that suffered the worst loss of life from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks has also put de Blasio at odds with US ally Saudi Arabia. In 2013, he lambasted the kingdom for refusing to allow Israeli passport holders to travel on its national airline's flights out of JFK International Airport. And as mayor, he sided with Congress — and against President Barack Obama — by supporting legislation that made it easier for the families of Sept. 11 victims to sue Riyadh. More recently, he has endorsed congressional efforts to end US support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. 

2014: Ended police program that spied on Muslim residents soon after taking office.

2013: Ripped Saudi Arabia for not allowing passengers with Israeli passports on its national airline flights out of JFK airport.

2016: Supported legislation to allow the families of victims of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to sue Saudi Arabia.

March 2019: Applauded US Senate for voting against US participation in “brutal and immoral” war in Yemen.

2012: Launched campaign to expose car companies doing business in Iran.

2012: Said that “the only thing the Iranian government understands is force. Force takes more than one form — it’s not just military force, it’s economic force as well.”

2015: Supported Iran nuclear deal.

2017: Condoned President Trump's retaliatory strikes for gas attack in Syria but worried about potential blowback in New York.

June 2019: Supported reentering the nuclear deal. 

July 2019: Stated that "we're on the march to war in Iran right now." 

2014: Praised President Obama for opposing "boots on the ground" in the fight against the Islamic State.

2015: Called invitation for Prime Minister Netanyahu to address Congress a “mistake.”

2015: Called Prime Minister Netanyahu’s statement that no Palestinian state would be established under his watch “a huge step backwards for peace in the region.”

March 2019: Made a progressive case against the pro-Palestinian BDS boycott campaign at the annual AIPAC summit in Washington, declaring that “Israel at its core is there to shelter an oppressed people.”

March 2019: Called a two-state solution “the best hope for peace” amid attacks against pro-Palestinian members of Congress.

2016: Highlighted New York City's role in resettling Syrian refugees.

John Delaney
Former congressman representing western Maryland, businessman

John Delaney is a businessman who represented western Maryland in the House of Representatives from 2013 to 2019. He is the co-founder of small business lenders CapitalSource and Healthcare Financial Partners.

Despite not sitting on any foreign policy panels, Delaney staked out pro-Israel positions while in Congress, co-sponsoring anti-BDS legislation despite free speech concerns. He voted for the Iran nuclear deal and accused President Donald Trump of pushing for “regime change” in Iran, but has also called for military action against Tehran should it take steps to build a nuclear bomb. He has also advocated for tougher sanctions in response to Iran's ballistic missile tests. Delaney endorsed Trump’s 2017 Syria airstrikes in response to the Khan Sheikhoun sarin gas attack, though he did call on the president to present a broader Syria strategy.

June 2019: Supported a new militray authorization with a five-year time limit and geographical limitations to replace the 2001 authorization that serves as the legal basis for counterterror operations. 

2018: Blamed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for Jamal Khashoggi's murder. 

2018: Supported ending military aid for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. 

July 2019: Vowed to ban Saudi officials from White House visits and to stop high-level US delegations from visiting the kingdom. 

2013: Voted for new Iran sanctions, siding against President Obama.

2015: Voted for the nuclear deal. 

2015: Called for a military option "if Iran takes steps to get a nuclear bomb." 

2016: Advocated for tougher sanctions on Iran's ballistic missile tests. 

2017: Voted for additional Iran sanctions. 

2018: Opposed President Trump's withdrawal from the nuclear deal and vowed to negotiate tougher terms "upon reentry." 

May 2019: Accused the Trump administration of pushing for "regime change and conflict with Iran." 

June 2019: Supported negotiating extensions on the nuclear deal's sunset provisions as well as conditions on Tehran's ballistic missile program, human rights record and support for terrorism. 

2014: Voted to keep US troops out of a combat role in Iraq. 

July 2019: Called the Iraq war "the most disastrous foreign policy action" since World War II. 

2014: Opposed the American Studies Association boycott of Israeli universities. 

2014: Voted for additional funding for Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system. 

2017: Voted for a bill rebuking a UN Security Council resolution against West Bank settlements. 

2017: Co-sponsored anti-BDS legislation. 

2018: Co-sponsored a bill to codify into law $3.8 billion in annual military aid to Israel for 10 years. 

April 2019: Criticized fellow 2020 candidate Bernie Sanders for referring to the Benjamin Netanyahu government as "racist." 

June 2019: Ruled out moving the US Embassy back to Tel Aviv. 

July 2019: Voiced support for Palestinian humanitarian aid. 

August 2019: Criticized "what seems to be a bit of an obsession right now with criticizing Israel within the Democratic Party." 

2013: Criticized President Obama's congressional request to strike Bashar al-Assad's forces in response to a chemical weapons attack as "overly broad." 

2014: Voted to arm Syrian rebel groups against the Islamic State.

2015: Voted to increase vetting for Syrian refugees. 

2017: Supported President Trump's airstrikes against Assad's forces but called for a broader Syria strategy.

Tulsi Gabbard
Congresswoman and former Hawaii state legislator

Tulsi Gabbard was the youngest person ever to join the Hawaii state legislature when she was elected in 2002, at the age of 21. Ten years later, she won a seat on the House of Representatives as the first Samoan American and first Hindu member of Congress. A member of the Hawaii National Guard, she has served in Iraq and Kuwait. As a member of the Armed Services Committee and a former member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Gabbard is running a foreign policy-focused campaign against US-sponsored "regime change."

Gabbard's global views make her an outlier in the crowded Democratic field. She has supported Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and his ally Russia against the Islamic State (IS) and was the first Democratic lawmaker to meet with President-elect Donald Trump after the 2016 election. She has also embraced right-wing backers of the Israeli settler movement, including Republican megadonors Sheldon and Miriam Adelson as well as Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who gave her an award in 2016 at his annual Champions of Jewish Values gala. That has not stopped her from condemning Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s West Bank settlement policies and accusing Israel and Saudi Arabia of trying to drag the United States into war with Iran.

2014: Condemned President Obama's release of detainees from Guantanamo Bay.

January 2019: Called for "a very limited use of drones" against terrorist groups such as IS and al-Qaeda. 

2017: Condemned President Trump's proposed arms sales to Saudi Arabia. 

2018: Accused Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey of supporting "terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda" in Syria. 

2018: Called President Trump "Saudi Arabia's bitch" over his response to Jamal Khashoggi's murder. 

April 2019: Voted to end US support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. 

April 2019: Called for "ending our alliance" with Saudi Arabia because of its oppression of religious minorities, women and the LGBT community.

June 2019: Introduced legislation to ban defense contractors from manufacturing bombs in Saudi Arabia. 

2013: Voted for new Iran sanctions, siding against President Obama.

2015: Voted for the nuclear deal. 

2017: Voted for additional Iran sanctions. 

2018: Introduced a bill prohibiting military action against Iran and Syria absent congressional authorization. 

April 2019: Supported reentering the nuclear deal. 

April 2019: Accused President Trump, Saudi Arabia and Israel of dragging the United States into war with Iran. 

June 2019: Vowed to negotiate an agreement on Iran's ballistic missile program. 

July 2019: Called for working "towards de-militarization and de-escalation of tensions" between Iran and Saudi Arabia as a "provision" to reenter the nculear deal. 

2014: Voted to keep US troops out of a combat role in Iraq. 

2014: Supported directly arming the Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga in the fight against IS. 

March 2019: Condemned the 2003 invasion of Iraq as "based on lies." 

2014: Opposed the American Studies Association boycott of Israeli universities. 

2014: Voted for additional funding for Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system. 

2017: Voted against a bill rebuking a UN Security Council resolution against West Bank settlements. 

2018: Condemned Israel for using "live ammunition" against unarmed protesters in Gaza. 

2018: Opposed President Trump's termination of aid to the Palestinians. 

April 2019: Condemned Prime Minister Netanyahu's "aggressive annexation policies" in the West Bank. 

July 2019: Voted for a nonbinding resolution condemning the BDS movement. 

July 2019: Co-sponsored Rep. Ilhan Omar's nonbinding boycott resolution. 

2014: Voted against arming Syrian rebel groups to fight the Islamic State. 

2015: Voted to increase vetting for Syrian refugees. 

2016: Argued that arming Syrian rebels to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad equated to "a regime-change war."

2016: Endorsed working with Syrian opposition groups to fight IS. 

2016: Called on the United States to "ally with Russia, Syrian forces and the Kurdish peshmerga and any other forces" to fight IS, al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. 

2017: Met with President Assad during a trip to Damascus funded by an Arab-American group with links to Syria.

2017 & 2018: Opposed President Trump's strikes against President Assad's forces and expressed skepticism that Damascus was behind the chemical weapons attacks that prompted them. 

January 2019: Supported a quick US troop withdrawal from Syria. 

February 2019: Invited Syrian Kurdish leader Ilham Ahmed to President Trump's State of the Union address. 

August 2019: Condemned President Bashar al-Assad as "a brutal dictator." 

August 2019: Accused President Trump of supporting al-Qaeda for opposing President Bashar al-Assad's Idlib offensive. 

Tim Ryan
Congressman and former congressional aide

Tim Ryan has represented Ohio in Congress since 2003, after briefly serving in the Ohio state senate in 2001-2002. An early opponent of the Iraq war and a member of the defense appropriations panel, Ryan has hewn closely to the pro-Israel wing of the party, repeatedly supporting Israel's right to defend itself against attacks from Hamas. However, he has also voted for the Iran nuclear deal and called for more political engagement with Tehran. 

Ryan notably supported President Donald Trump’s airstrikes against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, even as he called on the White House to lay out a “comprehensive Syria policy.” He has also cautioned that any long-term operation would require congressional approval.

2016: Supported closing Guantanamo Bay. 

August 2019: Endorsed repealing the 2001 military authorization, which serves as the legal basis for counterterrorism operations in the region. 

2018: Called for Saudi Arabia to be held accountable for Jamal Khashoggi's murder.

May 2019: Called on Saudi Arabia to release Ayman al-Drees, a fellow graduate of Ohio's Bowling Green State University, and to end its crackdown on civil society. 

July 2019: Voted to block $8 billion in arms transfers to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. 

July 2019: Called for an end to "logisitical and fiscal support" for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. 

2007: Voted for Iran sanctions. 

2011: Voted for additional Iran sanctions. 

2013: Voted for new Iran sanctions, siding against President Barack Obama. 

2015: Voted for the nuclear deal. 

2016: Called for more political engagement with Iran. 

2017: Voted for new Iran sanctions. 

2018: Opposed President Trump's withdrawal from the nuclear deal. 

June 2019: Co-sponsored a bill prohibiting funding for military action against Iran absent congressional authorization. 

July 2019: Clarified that he only supports reentering the nuclear deal if it "extends provisions even further into the future." 

2007: Opposed President Bush's Iraq troop surge. 

2007: Voted to withdraw US forces from Iraq. 

2014: Voted to keep US troops out of a combat role in Iraq. 

July 2019: Argued that the Iraq war undercut US moral standing in the world. 

2009: Condemned Hamas for violating a cease-fire with Israel. 

2014: Voted for additional funding for Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system. 

2016: Stated that Israel has “the right to defend itself from terror.” 

2017: Voted for a bill rebuking a UN Security Council resolution against West Bank settlements. 

May 2019: Co-sponsored a bill to codify into law $3.8 billion in annual military aid to Israel for 10 years.

July 2019: Co-sponsored a bill to bolster economic cooperation between Israel, Palestine and the United States. 

July 2019: Accused President Trump of pushing away the Palestinians with a "blatantly one-sided policy." 

2003: Voted for Syria sanctions package. 

2014: Voted to arm Syrian rebel groups to fight the Islamic State. 

2015: Voted to increase vetting of Syrian refugees. 

2017 & 2018: Supported President Trump's strikes on President Bashar al-Assad's forces but called for a “comprehensive Syria policy.”

Marianne Williamson
Spiritual adviser and author

Marianne Williamson is an author and spiritual guru who previously ran a failed congressional campaign to represent Southern California as an independent in 2014. Espousing an anti-war platform, she has accused President Donald Trump of “saber rattling” on Iran and vocally criticized US support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. However, she has also called for a “draw down” instead of the “immediate removal of troops” from Syria, citing a potential “betrayal of the Kurds” and the latent threat from the Islamic State (IS).

She has also staked out one of the furthest left positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, promising to declare West Bank settlements as “illegal” while in office and has called on Israel “to end the blockade in Gaza.” She does not support the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, however.

2014: Opposed ”drone strikes, surveillance programs and wars of aggression.”

August 2019: Endorsed repealing the 2001 military authorization, which serves as the legal basis for counterterrorism operations in the region. 

2018: Condemned President Trump’s response to Saudi Arabia’s murder of Jamal Khashoggi and questioned the US-Saudi alliance over Riyadh’s lack of adherence to democratic values.

February 2019: Criticized US arms sales to the Saudis following reports that the weapons made their way to Yemeni groups linked to al-Qaeda and Iran.

May 2019: Stated that ”the blood of starving children in Yemen is on the hands of every US official” who pushes for arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

July 2019: Accused Saudi Arabia of pursuing a "genocidal war" in Yemen. 

July 2019: Accused Saudi Arabia and the UAE of seeking to "provoke a war" with Iran. 

August 2019: Endorsed ending US support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. 

2018: Condemned President Trump’s withdrawal from the accord.

March 2019: Supported reentering the nuclear deal in a statement to Al-Monitor.

May 2019: Condemned President Trump’s ”saber rattling” with Iran and called on Congress to prohibit funding to attack Iran.

July 2019: Called Iran "a potential ally against Sunni extremism." 

May 2019: Criticized the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

March 2019: Voiced support for ”the human rights concerns of Palestinians” and ”the legitimate security concerns of Israel.”

March 2019: Opposed the BDS movement.

April 2019: Expressed disappointment after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his allies won the Israeli elections.

April 2019: Vowed to declare Israeli West Bank settlements ”illegal.”

April 2019: Opposed President Trump’s recognition of Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights.

April 2019: Called on Israel to ”end the blockade on Gaza.”

July 2019: Vowed to "exert pressure on Israel to restart talks on a two-state solution." 

August 2019: Vowed to move the US Embassy back to Tel Aviv. 

2013: Questioned President Barack Obama’s threats to bomb the Bashar al-Assad government over chemical weapons attacks.

2014: Said her ”mind seesaws between hawk and dove” in response to IS’ beheadings of civilians.

April 2019: Called for a ”draw down” instead of the ”immediate removal of troops” from Syria, citing a potential “betrayal of the Kurds” and a residual threat from IS.

Dropped out of race:


Kirsten Gillibrand
Senator and former lawyer

Kirsten Gillibrand has represented New York in the Senate since 2009 following one term as a congresswoman from an upstate conservative district. Gillibrand noted her opposition to the Iraq war during her 2006 House campaign. She went on to caucus with the conservative Blue Dog Democrats but shifted to the left once in the Senate.

While she has not embraced the same pro-Palestinian positions as some of her opponents, Gillibrand's record on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has also moved left in recent years. She has consistently advocated for military aid to Israel and introduced a 2012 resolution supporting Israel’s right to defend itself from Hamas rocket attacks but has also drawn scrutiny for her shifting stance on anti-boycott legislation. Although she initially supported anti-boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) legislation pushed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in 2017, she changed positions after the American Civil Liberties Union raised free speech concerns. At the same time, she closely aligned herself with the pro-Palestinian organizers of the Women’s March, which emerged as a backlash to President Donald Trump’s election.

2009: Voted to prevent President Obama from releasing Guantanamo Bay detainees. 

2013: Voted to ease restrictions on transferring detainees out of Guantanamo Bay. 

July 2019: Argued that "meeting the terrorist threat does not require holding territory." 

July 2019: Called for the repeal of existing military authorizations to make sure the president doesn't use them as "legal pretzels for unauthorized wars."

July 2019: Called on Congress to pass a bill prohibiting military authorizations "without a clear time limit, without naming specific entities and without geographical parameters." 

2016: Voted to block a $1 billion tank sale to Saudi Arabia. 

2017: Voted to block a $500 million missile sale to Saudi Arabia. 

2018: Called on the Trump administration to hold "the Saudi government to account" for Jamal Khashoggi's murder. 

2018: Voted to block a $300 million missile sale to Bahrain. 

March 2019: Voted to end US support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. 

April 2019: Called on Saudi Arabia to release political prisoners. 

June 2019: Voted to block a $750 million missile sale to Bahrain. 

June 2019: Voted to block a $3 billion sale of attack helicopters to Qatar. 

June 2019: Voted to block $8 billion in arms transfers to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. 

2007: Voted for Iran sanctions. 

2010: Voted for Iran sanctions. 

2013: Co-sponsored an Iran sanctions bill. 

2015: Voted for the nuclear deal. 

2017: Voted for new Iran sanctions. 

2018: Opposed President Trump's withdrawal from the nuclear deal and supports reentering the accord. 

June 2019: Vowed to reset relations with Iran to "make sure we do not start an unwanted, never-ending war." 

June 2019: Voted to prohibit funding for military action against Iran absent congressional authorization. 

July 2019: Praised the Bush and Obama era cyber attacks on Iran's nuclear program as a model to "fight future threats." 

July 2019: Condemned "Iran's recent escalations and its breach of the nuclear deal." 

July 2019: Vowed to press Iran to extend the nuclear agreement while addressing its ballistic missile program and its "support for terrorism." 

2006: Opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq during her House campaign. 

2007: Voted with Republicans to continue funding the Iraq war. 

2007: Voted to withdraw US forces from Iraq. 

2014: Co-sponsored a resolution to repeal the 2002 Iraq war authorization. 

2009: Dropped out of the liberal lobbying group J Street's conference, saying she was "unaware" the group had listed her as a supporter. 

2012: Introduced a bill recognizing Israel's right to defend itself against Hamas rocket attacks. 

2014: Co-sponsored a military aid bill for Israel. 

2017: Co-sponsored a bill rebuking UN Security Council resolution against West Bank settlements. 

2017: Voted for a pro-Israel resolution in favor of moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem. 

2017: Criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for not having a peace plan. 

2017: Withdrew as a co-sponsor of anti-BDS legislation.

2018: Opposed President Trump's termination of Palestinian aid. 

2018: Co-sponsored a bill that would codify into law $3.8 billion in annual military aid to Israel for 10 years. 

February 2019: Voted against anti-BDS legislation over free speech concerns. 

July 2019: Ruled out moving the US Embassy back to Tel Aviv but promised to re-open the East Jerusalem Consulate for Palestinians. 

July 2019: Vowed to "continue our country's unbreakable bond" with Israel while vowing to engage the Israelis and Palestinians to work toward a two-state solution. 

August 2019: Criticized Israel's 2017 law that bars boycott supporters from entering the country. 

2013: Supported President Obama's plan to strike President Bashar al-Assad's forces in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack.

2014: Voted against arming Syrian opposition groups to fight the Islamic State and opposed introducing US ground troops without congressional approval. 

2016: Voted against a bill increasing vetting restrictions on Syrian refugees. 

2017 & 2018: Opposed President Trump's strikes on President Assad's forces. 

February 2019: Voted against a resolution warning President Trump against precipitously withdrawing troops from Syria. 

John Hickenlooper
Former governor of Colorado and geologist

John Hickenlooper was governor of Colorado from 2011 to 2019 after serving as mayor of Denver from 2003 to 2011. Prior to that he co-founded a successful brewery, selling his stake for $7 million following a career as a geologist. As governor, he pushed for increased business and technical cooperation with Israel, including a 2015 effort to bolster Colorado’s budding cannabis industry. But his promotion of Colorado business placed him in an awkward position in 2018 after he congratulated the Colorado-based Saudi lobbyist Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck mere weeks after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Hickenlooper supports continued military engagement in the Middle East, stating that it would be a “tragic and costly mistake” to pull out of the region. He has also criticized President Donald Trump’s “unilateral withdrawal” from Syria. And while he has expressed a willingness to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal, he has said he would only do so if he negotiated more stringent conditions to add to the accord.

2016: Opposed moving Guantanamo Bay detainees to Colorado. 

2017: Called for redoubling efforts internationally to “strike out and find” terrorists.

May 2019: Called to “continue efforts we've made since 9/11 to ensure the strongest possible counterterror protections.” 

May 2019: Argued that it would be a “tragic and costly mistake to cut short our military presence in the Middle East” as it would embolden the Islamic State and other terror groups.

2018: Called Jamal Khashoggi's murder “unthinkable” after getting blowback for proclamation honoring Colorado-based Saudi lobbying firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck.

2015: Defended President Obama's nuclear negotiations with Iran. 

May 2019: Opposed President Trump's withdrawal from the nuclear deal but requires stricter conditions before reentering the deal.  

2018: Signed a law giving in-state tuition to Iraqi immigrants who worked with the US military. 

2011: Organized a meeting of Colorado and Israeli officials to discuss water and climate issues. 

2013: Praised Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as “someone who's making decisions that count.” 

2014: Called for standing “shoulder-to-shoulder” with Israel during the Gaza war. 

2015: Pushed for cannabis cooperation between Colorado and Israel. 

2016: Signed Colorado anti-boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) bill. 

2018: Joined all 50 governors in condemning the BDS movement. 

May 2019: Blamed Hamas for flare-up of violence with the Gaza Strip. 

May 2019: Stated that “we do not have to agree with every action of the Israeli government.” 

2015: Called for “stringent” vetting of Syrian refugees. 

May 2019: Criticized President Trump's “unilateral withdrawal” from Syria. 

Campaign website

The Middleman (New Yorker)

John Hickenlooper is running for president as himself. Uh-oh. (Politico Magazine)


Jay Inslee
Governor of Washington and former House member

Jay Inslee is the governor of Washington. He previously represented the state in the US House of Representatives from 1993 to 1995 and then again from 1999 to 2012. Inslee is centering his campaign around climate change and has called to orient US foreign policy around that issue. His campaign website lists Saudi Arabia, Iran and Russia as part of the “axis of oil,” lambasting them for their “anti-democratic practices.”

After voting to increase sanctions on Iran several times while in the House, Inslee has vowed to reenter the Iran deal as president. He also co-sponsored a bill to prevent President George W. Bush from taking military action against Iran and voted against the use of force against Iraq in 2002. While he voted with all but one of his colleagues for the 2001 military authorization against terrorists following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, he has recently voiced his support to add restrictions to that authorization.

2001: Voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force, the legal basis for counterterrorism operations throughout the region.

April 2019: Supported modifying the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force.

Calls on the United States to disentangle its climate policy from the “anti-democratic practices” of “the axis of oil” — Saudi Arabia, Iran and Russia.

2007: Co-sponsored a bill to prevent President Bush from taking military action against Iran without congressional authorization.

2007: Voted for more Iran sanctions.

2010: Voted to increase sanctions on Iran.

2011: Voted for additional Iran sanctions.

April 2019: Supported reentering the nuclear deal.

June 2019: Voiced concern that "the same people that caused the Iraq war debacle will repeat it by causing an unnecessary conflict with Iran." 

2002: Voted against authorizing military action against Iraq.

2007: Voted to withdraw US troops from Iraq.

2018: Joined all 50 governors in condemning the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

April 2019: Endorsed “a democratic and secure” Israel.

April 2019: Opposed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pledge to annex parts of the West Bank.

July 2019: Stated that "freedom of speech must be defended" when asked about anti-BDS legislation. 

2003: Voted for Syria sanctions package. 

2018: Opposed President Trump's restrictions on Syrian refugees.

Eric Swalwell
Congressman and former deputy district attorney for Alameda County, Calif.

Eric Swalwell entered the House in 2013 after defeating fellow California Democrat Pete Stark, a 40-year incumbent. Prior to that, he served as the deputy district attorney for Alameda County, Calif. His presidential campaign focuses largely on gun control and impeaching President Donald Trump.

A skeptic of military engagement in Iraq and Syria, Swalwell voted to keep US troops out of a combat role in Iraq to fight the Islamic State (IS). He also voted against arming Syrian opposition groups against the terror group. He has co-sponsored anti-boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) legislation over the objections of free speech advocates, but was in the minority in voting against legislation rebuking the UN Security Council for condemning West Bank settlements. Swalwell has served on the House Intelligence Committee, which oversees US covert action, since 2015.

2015: Called on Congress to vote on a new military authorization against the Islamic State.

2018: Called on the Trump administration to threaten sanctions on Saudi Arabia if Riyadh does not produce Jamal Khashoggi's body. 

January 2019: Called for a probe into the Trump Organization's ties to Saudi Arabia. 

April 2019: Voted to end US support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. 

2013: Voted for new Iran sanctions, siding against President Barack Obama.

2015: Voted for the nuclear deal.

2017: Voted for new Iran sanctions.

April 2019: Vowed to “lead negotiations” to return the United States to the nuclear deal. 

May 2019: Accused President Trump of “spoiling for a war with Iran.”

2014: Voted to keep US troops out of a combat role in Iraq. 

2013: Voted for additional funding for Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system. 

2014: Opposed the American Studies Association boycott of Israeli universities. 

2014: Voted against a bill rebuking a UN Security Council resolution against West Bank settlements. 

2018: Co-sponsored anti-BDS legislation. 

May 2019: Co-sponsored a bill to codify into law $3.8 billion in annual military aid to Israel for 10 years.

2013: Supported "a limited US military response" to President Bashar al-Assad's chemical weapons use but opposed deploying ground troops. 

2014: Voted against arming Syrian rebel groups to fight the Islamic State. 

2015: Voted against increasing vetting of Syrian refugees. 

2017 & 2018: Opposed President Trump's strikes on President Assad's forces. 

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