A Republican congresswoman has called for the Secretary of State to revoke former president Jimmy Carter’s passport after he met with leaders of Hamas in the Middle East.
Rep. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.) said in a written statement April 16 that Carter’s actions contradicted international agreements to isolate Hamas and defied U.S. policy.
“His actions reward terrorists, lend support, and provide legitimacy to their belief that violence will eventually get them what they want,” Myrick said.
Carter told NPR that he traveled to the middle east as a representative of his nonprofit Carter Center to gauge how involved minority parties are in the peace process.
Hamas is the party of the elected Palestinian government in Gaza. The United States lists Hamas as a terrorist organization. Therefore, U.S. officials are not to meet with Hamas officials, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.
Carter told NPR that no one at the state Department specifically discouraged his trip or his meeting with Hamas leaders.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormick said Friday that he hopes that private people on the international scene will interact with the “legitimate forces for peace,” such as Palestinian President Abbas.
“It’s our view that you should focus on those who want to bring about peace, who have turned away from violence, who have renounced terrorism,” McCormick said.
In a meeting with reporters on Friday, McCormick said he didn’t think Carter had broken any laws or done anything punishable by visiting with Hamas.
Myrick, who as a member of the House of Representatives has no authority over passports, told the Fox News Newtork on Thursday that her call to revoke Carter’s passport was meant to sent a message.
“But, frankly, I wanted to send a strong message, because we have a policy in this country about Hamas. And he is just deliberately undermining the policy, and it’s wrong.”