In September 2015, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Ed Royce (R-Calif.), said, while voting against then-President Barack Obama’s agreement with Iran to trade sanctions relief for inspections of Tehran’s nuclear program, “This isn’t just a bad deal – it’s a disastrous deal and it enables Iran to become far more dangerous…. We have to judge this deal on the long-term national security interests of the United States. Does it make the region and the world more safe, secure, and stable? In my judgment, clearly it does not.”
Two years later, Royce was singing a much different tune: “As flawed as the deal is, I believe we must now enforce the hell out of it.”
What changed? Royce will tell you that “the toothpaste is out of the tube” in terms of Iran receiving its previously locked assets, but I would gently suggest an alternative theory: Donald Trump became president, and sought to actually deliver on (at least in part) the promise that a then-unanimous GOP caucus felt perfectly safe to issue back when a Democrat slept in the White House. What’s more, the president did so in such a way that explicitly kicks the issue back to Congress.