Published January 13, 2015
President Bush continued to ride two horses at once Monday, applying the whip to both the United Nations and the Senate over Iraq and homeland security.
Bush repeated his demand that the United Nations pass a resolution authorizing the use of military force to compel Iraq to comply with past U.N. disarmament resolutions.
The president made it clear that if the United Nations intends to serve a more meaningful role than that of a debating society, it must deal once and for all with the threat of Saddam Hussein.
"We will not allow the world's worst leaders to threaten us with the world's worst weapons. I want to see strong resolutions coming out of that U.N. A resolution which says the old ways of deceit are gone. A resolution which will hold this man to account. A resolution which will allow freedom-loving countries to disarm Saddam Hussein before he threatens his neighborhood, before he threatens freedom, before he threatens America and before he threatens civilization," Bush told an audience at the Army National Guard Aviation Support facility in Trenton, N.J..
Meantime, the Bush administration is hardly celebrating Sunday's narrow re-election victory by German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. Analysts say Schroeder's win may be attributable to campaigning on his opposition to military action against Iraq.
If that were not enough to strain U.S.-German relations, the White House was also unimpressed with Schroeder's letter of apology for his justice minister's remarks likening Bush to Adolf Hitler.
White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said Schroeder's letter "really didn't read like an apology [but] more like an attempt at an explanation."
A senior administration official said Schroeder and his government "have a lot of work to do to repair the damage that [Schroeder] did by his excesses during the campaign."
In his remarks Monday, the president did not address the German government, but did urge the Democratic-led Senate to pass a bill, as the House did in July, establishing a Cabinet-level homeland security department. The president said he wants the bill completed before Congress recesses for final campaigning in November's midterm elections.
The Senate is at an impasse over whether to change the bill that passed the House, which gives the president broad authority over the hiring, transfer and firing of federal employees.
Senate Democrats prefer to keep employees unionized, saying they fear new labor rules will allow employees to be hired and fired based on their political affiliation.
The president said that employees will still have federal workforce protections.
"I asked Congress to give me the flexibility necessary to be able to deal with the true threats of the 21st century by being able to move the right people to the right place at the right time so we can better assure America we're doing everything possible. The House responded, but the Senate is more interested in special interests in Washington and not interested in the security of the American people," he said.
"I will not accept a Department of Homeland Security that does not allow this president and future presidents to better keep the American people secure," he added.
Some have speculated that if the Senate passes a homeland security bill resembling a Democratic version rather than the president's version, then members will still have to come back after the election to hold a conference with the House to reconcile differences in the two versions.
The president was continuing his unprecedented campaign cash drive with his 54th fund-raiser this year on behalf of Republican New Jersey Senate candidate Doug Forrester, who is running neck and neck with Democratic incumbent Robert Torricelli.
Even fellow Democrats consider Torricelli the most vulnerable incumbent running this year. The senator was "severely admonished" by the Senate ethics panel in July for taking illegal gifts from businessman David Chang, who is serving 18 months in prison for making illegal campaign donations.
Fox News' James Rosen contributed to this report.