Republican State Sen. Dick Black, R-Loudoun, took time off from not working with fellow legislators to pass a state budget to write a letter to Syrian dictator Bashar Assad praising Assad for his leadership in a civil war that has led to more than 140,000 deaths.
“I write to thank the Syrian Arab Army for its heroic rescue of Christians in the Qalamoun Mountain Range,” the letter from Black begins. He told the Washington Post that he feels the battle in syria is between Assad’s forces and Al Qaeda.
United States-led sanctions in place since 2011 are tied to Assad stepping down; there was talk last summer of possible Western military intervention after reports surfaced that the Assad regime was using chemical weapons on its own people.
“The recent actions of Republican State Senator Dick Black are inexcusable. Black’s admiration of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad comes at the cost of thousands of Syrian lives, the use of chemical weapons, and widespread torture,” said Democratic Party of Virginia Executive Director Robert Dempsey.
“It is bizarre that State Senator Dick Black would send a letter to the President of Syria. Especially one that heaps praise on President Bashar al-Assad — a man who has presided over terrible massacres and atrocities, including gas attacks that killed hundreds of his own people,” Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Donald McEachin, D-Henrico, said.
“As state legislators we should be spending our time on issues here in Virginia. Passing a budget that closes the coverage gap is job number one, and I don’t understand why Dick Black is flattering strongmen overseas when he could be helping hundreds of thousands of uninsured Virginians right here at home,” McEachin said.