Badham, Dornan to Welcome Gorbachev
Reps. Robert E. Badham (R-Newport Beach) and Robert K. Dornan (R-Garden Grove)--both of whom support the missile treaty with the Soviet Union that is expected to be signed this week--will help welcome Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev to the White House today.
Badham, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, and Dornan, on the Foreign Affairs Committee, are among about 45 members of Congress invited to the welcoming ceremony, an event for heads of state that traditionally includes drill teams, bands and public greetings by the President.
In supporting the treaty, both Badham and Dornan parted company with other conservatives on the far right, who have strongly criticized President Reagan for the pact. Howard Phillips, head of the Conservative Caucus, on Friday called Reagan “a useful idiot for Soviet propaganda.”
Dornan was the spokesman for those in Congress who were outraged at the suggestion that Gorbachev address Congress while visiting the United States this week.
“I said, ‘We will meet with him anywhere, but he must not get honor on the floor of Congress,’ ” Dornan said Monday, calling Gorbachev “a dictator with human rights violations to the extreme” in Afghanistan and in the Soviet Union.
“My objection was to his speaking in the citadel of honor, the House of Representatives,” Dornan said.
He said he supports the treaty on intermediate-range nuclear forces--or INF--as long as there are no last-minute surprises in it.
“A lot of these conservatives who are against this, I’m sorry to say, just don’t understand the nuclear might we have . . . right now,” Dornan said. “For God’s sake, where do we start to end this balance of terror?”
In supporting the treaty, Dornan is also staying in line with Vice President Bush, a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination, as Bush’s most notable supporter on the far right. Bush, a moderate, is the only one of the six GOP candidates who supports the treaty. The remaining five either openly oppose the treaty or, as in the case of Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole of Kansas, want to study it before making a decision.
Referring to information that there were last-minute changes in the treaty as late as Monday, Dornan said, “Unless there’s some big surprise in this final haggling we heard about this morning, then I’m with George Bush. This is the first step we ought to take. But, oh, will I be a tiger on verification, on cheating.”
Badham said several briefings on verification of compliance with the treaty--the issue of most concern to those opposing the pact--have persuaded him that it “is well within the realm of practicability.”
As for the conservatives who openly attacked Reagan on Friday as “an apologist for Gorbachev,” Badham labeled them “professional conservatives.”
He accused them of “rather unfairly . . . unloading some future political bullets in the direction of Mr. Reagan for their own personal advantage.”
The other three congressmen whose districts are either wholly or partly in Orange County have indicated that they are reserving judgment on the treaty, which must be approved by the Senate.
According to Mike Bonk, an aide to Rep. William E. Dannemeyer, the Fullerton Republican is “very cautious about such an agreement with the Soviet Union, but he has not reached a decision as to whether he would not support this particular one.”
Richard Rice, an aide to Rep. Ron C. Packard (R-Carlsbad), said Packard is reserving comment until he has had a chance to read the treaty.
Thomas F. Needles, press secretary to Rep. Daniel E. Lungren (R-Long Beach), said that while Lungren “embraces the important goal of limiting the number of nuclear weapons in our countries, he has a number of concerns relative to this agreement.” Needles said these include verification, NATO conventional force levels, “the question of Soviet behavior throughout the world” and the Soviet record on human rights.
According to Badham, the welcoming event planned for Gorbachev will be held outside the White House, weather permitting. While sometimes those attending are invited inside afterward, this time they are not.
“In fact, they made it clear: If it rains, it’s not going to be inside--it’s canceled,” Badham said.