Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) wants the voters of Illinois to think he’s a moderate. But that image of “Kirk the moderate” will come crashing down this Sunday as the Republican senator joins former Bush administration official John Bolton for a big fundraiser just outside Chicago.


Despite the fact that Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) said he’d support Donald Trump if he’s the GOP nominee for president, it generally appears that he wants the voters of Illinois to think he’s a moderate. His planned appearance with John Bolton puts the lie to that image.

It’s surprising that John Bolton was ever a diplomat because he hates the United Nations and war is always his first choice. Bolton helped lead the United States into war in Iraq and remains an unapologetic defender of that decision.

Bolton vigorously opposed the negotiations that eventually led to the historic agreement that prevents Iran from building a nuclear weapon and Bolton has consistently called for war with the Islamic Republic.

Bolton also defended a right-wing conspiracy theory that the Muslim Brotherhood had infiltrated the top levels of the U.S. government.

Do you think any of that is a bit unhinged? Well, Sen. Mark Kirk’s views aren’t far off from Bolton’s.

Like Bolton, Kirk has been a staunch opponent of diplomacy both with Cuba and Iran.

Sanctions on Iran were a key part in bringing Iran to the negotiating table and Kirk’s zeal for sanctions was notable. For example, in late 2011, he said “it’s okay to take the food out of the mouths” of innocent Iranian citizens if it means punishing the Iranian regime with strict sanctions.

Kirk was also a key co-sponsor of an Iran sanctions bill in 2013 that experts and Obama administration officials said would have undermined the fragile nuclear talks with Iran (the bill ended up not moving forward because of Democratic opposition). And the Illinois Republican was a vocal opponent of the eventual agreement, invoking Nazi buzzwords and making the absurd claim that President Obama actually wants Iran to get nuclear weapons.

The Iran nuclear deal blocks Iran from building a nuclear weapon, that’s why non-proliferation experts, retired military, scientists, diplomats, scholars, Iranian dissidents, and the Israeli security establishment support it. In fact, some argue that the deal helped defeat hardliners in Iran’s latest parliamentary elections.

Kirk teaming up with Bolton suggests that another opponent of diplomacy will remain in the Senate should he win re-election this November. And that’s hardly “moderate.”

(AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)