Appearing on CNN just hours after announcing his pending resignation from the Senate, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) summed up his reason for voting against the U.N.’s Convention on the Rights of People with Disability (CRPD). The Tea Party lawmaker complained that members of the international body voted to upgrade Palestine’s status within its halls and explained that he couldn’t trust the U.N. or the treaty:
DEMINT: The United Nations cannot take an issue of that importance and carry it effectively around the world. They’re — This is the group that wants to make Palestine a state, they’re group that wants to regulate the Internet. If you look behind the scenes at the United Nations, this is not something we want to turn over, the rights of the disabled.
BLITZER: So this is more an expression of your disdain of the United Nations than it was necessarily the merits of the treaty?
DEMINT: Well, there was a small part related clearly to the disabled. But it was well over 100 pages of treaty, of legal language, that effects parental rights and other issues of importance.
The CRPD, based almost entirely around current United States law, was voted upon in the Senate on Monday. Unfortunately, the treaty fell just short of the two-thirds affirmative vote required to ratify it, despite lobbying by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and former GOP Presidential candidate Bob Dole. Disabilities rights groups have widely criticized the 38 Republicans who voted in the negative, including DeMint.
Making DeMint’s response to Blitzer’s questions even more puzzling is that the United States also wants Palestine to become a state as well as does much of the rest of the world. While scolding the Palestinian push at the United Nations, it has been the policy of the U.S. to pursue a two-state solution for years. DeMint’s disagreement only highlights the absurdity of his “no” vote.
In addition to his loathing of the U.N.’s handling of Palestine, DeMint has never been a fan of international treaties in general, even those that benefit the United States. He did seem to take special umbrage at the CRPD, though, penning an op-ed in opposition and pushing falsehoods about its contents to conspiracy theory websites.
Further, ThinkProgress has counted the pages of the full text of the treaty as published online; it comes to 26, rather than the hundreds that DeMint claims.