John Kerry ripped his former colleagues in Congress for contributing to public opposition to foreign aid during his first major address as secretary of State on Wednesday.
Kerry said many Americans believe that the United States spends 25 percent of its budget on foreign affairs, instead of the real figure of just over 1 percent. The main culprits, according to Kerry: politicians looking for an applause line.
“Where do you think this idea comes from?” Kerry asked. “Well I'll tell you, it's pretty simple. As a recovering politician, I can tell you that nothing gets a crowd clapping faster in a lot of places than saying: 'I'm going to Washington to get them to stop spending all that money over there.' ”
Kerry went on to call on Americans to “say no to the politics of the lowest-common denominator and of simplistic slogans and start making real choices that protect the interests of our country.”
"The kids whose lives we're helping save from AIDS, the women we're helping to free from the horrors of sex trafficking, the students who for the first time can choose to walk into a school instead of into a short life of terrorism – their strongest lobbyists are the rare, committed Americans who stand up for them and for the resources that we need to help them. And I hope that includes all of you here and many listening.”