(Bloomberg) -- Representative Andy Kim said the US’s standing in the world has been shaken by the threat of a government shutdown and other internal upheaval in Washington, offering himself as part of a new generation of leaders ready to step up.
Kim, a 41-year-old Democrat from New Jersey, recently announced he plans to launch a primary challenge against Senator Robert Menendez, who has been charged with accepting bribes to help Egypt’s government and an Egyptian businessman. Kim, who has called for Menendez to step down, said in an interview that he’s raised $1 million in the first week since announcing.
“We’re not instilling confidence in the rest of the world,” Kim said of the recent turmoil in Congress. “What is the value and the worth of the American handshake right now internationally? It’s not where we would want it to be.”
Those questions have been thrust to the fore amid concerns about whether Congress will approve a new round of military support for Ukraine after Representative Kevin McCarthy’s ouster as speaker of the House. President Joe Biden has said he has other ways to make sure US support continues for now, but the episode — along with concern about US support if Biden loses reelection in 2024 — has shaken other governments’ faith.
Kim said leaders from other countries keep asking if the US remains a reliable partner given the swings in policy that occurred under former President Donald Trump and again under Biden. “They refer to this as American whiplash,” he said.
“They say, ‘Look, you join the Paris Climate Agreement, you leave the Paris Climate Agreement, you join the Paris Climate Agreement,” Kim said in reference to the multinational accord that former President Barack Obama entered, Trump quit and Biden rejoined. “Like — ‘we don’t know what we can count on.’”
Kim said he decided to challenge Menendez after the senator, who has denied wrongdoing, told reporters “I’m not going anywhere.”
“It sounds like he said, ‘It’s mine, this is mine,’” Kim said. “And that’s when I felt like, if he feels that way, then we’re going to give the people a choice.”
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