John McCain has said he will move U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem on “day one” of his presidency, but two of his top advisers declined to promise that he wouldn’t sign a national security waiver that would delay the move, according to one person who attended a meeting last week of the McCain campaign and Jewish leaders and supporters. The source did not wish to be identified.
According to the meeting attendee, the foreign policy advisers, Kori Schake and Richard Fontaine, said such a decision would be “up to Sen. McCain.”
McCain spokesman Michael Goldfarb told JTA that just because the advisers may have declined to answer the question, doesn’t mean McCain would waver on his promise. They were correct to say that it is “up to McCain,” Goldfarb said, and the Republican nominee “has made it clear he will not sign a waiver” and has “every intention of moving the embassy in his first year in office.”
“The senator’s position is clear,” Goldfarb said.
Both President George W. Bush and former President Bill Clinton promised to move the embassy once they were elected but neither did – with Bush signing the waiver 16 times over the last eight years. Barack Obama has said he wants the embassy to be in Jerusalem but has not put a time frame on when he would move it; his campaign has accused McCain of lying for suggesting he would move it immediately.
The two-hour meeting, in which about two dozen leaders of Jewish organizations and Jewish supporters of McCain came to campaign headquarters in Arlington, Va., also included Mark Broxmeyer, national chairman of the campaign’s Jewish Advisory Coalition.
Attendees said they were pleased with what they heard from the McCain advisers, and said there were no surprises. One attendee said the advisers told the group that McCain would “put no pressure on Israel for concessions,” push for tougher sanctions on Iran and “treat jihadism as a transcendant national concern.”