WASHINGTON (JTA) — Republicans in their first presidential debates said they would undo the Iran nuclear deal.
“What happened in Iran is a disgrace and it’s going to lead to destruction in huge parts of the world,” Donald Trump, the real estate magnate leading in the polls, said Thursday in the second of two debates broadcast by Fox from Cleveland and billed collectively as the first GOP debate in the 2016 election season.
Among the 17 candidates vowing to kill the deal were former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
If other candidates did not pledge to end the deal, it appeared only to be because they were not asked directly due to time constraints, given the large number of candidates. Most candidates managed to get in pledges of support for Israel nonetheless.
Cruz said in his closing statement that he would move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Six major powers reached the sanctions relief for nuclear restrictions deal on July 14, and President Barack Obama has pledged to veto any attempt by the Republican led Congress to kill the deal.
The only candidate who when directly asked did not say he would kill the deal was Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., although he said the deal was poorly negotiated.
“I don’t immediately discount negotiations,” said Paul.
Paul was also asked about his pledge in 2010 to end assistance for Israel as part of a plan to end foreign assistance. He said he stood by the statement, but added that he would first end assistance to hostile countries, calling Israel a close ally.
The debates were split up according to polling, with the more popular candidates appearing at prime time, 9 p.m.
Much of that debate was taken up with sniping between Trump and the candidates trailing behind him. Trump was the only candidate who would not pledge to support the winning GOP candidate if it were not him.