Republican Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk is in a tough spot. He’s in a tight re-election race in a blue-leaning state and, whether out of expedience or conviction, he’s denounced Donald Trump and spoken out in support of Obama Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. But he also has to remind conservative voters that he is still, in fact, a Republican. Such is the confluence of factors that seems to have resulted in Kirk’s strange recent announcement that, by making the $400 million payment that the U.S. sent Iran in January before the release of several American prisoners, President Obama behaved like a “drug dealer.” Via the Springfield, Illinois, State Journal-Register:
“We can’t have the president of the United States acting like the drug dealer in chief,” Kirk said, “giving clean packs of money to a … state sponsor of terror. Those 500-euro notes will pop up across the Middle East. …. We’re going to see problems in multiple [countries] because of that money given to them.”
If you’re inclined to read a racial tinge into the “drug dealer” language, consider that Kirk has in the past made headlines by referring to bachelor South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham as “a bro with no ho” and by describing “the black community” as “one we drive faster through” because of crime and poverty. (Yes, he even said “the black community” and not “black neighborhoods.” Nothing like a good Sunday drive through the black community!)
Also, not to toot my own cool-guy horn, but I’ve seen a few drug deals take place in my time—I got my college degree from an infamous party school—and at no point did any of them involve the exchange of cash for foreign political prisoners.