GOP Senate candidate says he's playing Risk to learn about foreign policy

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New Hampshire Republican Chuck Morse has made questionable comments about international matters since jumping into the Senate race.

New Hampshire state Senate President Chuck Morse (R) announced in January that he would seek his party's nomination to challenge Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) this November. Earlier this month, he said he is trying to learn about foreign policy — by playing a board game.

At a March 4 meet-and-greet event in Londonderry, New Hampshire, Morse told voters that he was trying to bone up on international matters:

Let's face it. What's Russia's next move? What's China's next move? You know, one of the things that I pride myself on is I really do love New Hampshire and I really do work my tail off to study budgets and policy and all that. But I went to Washington last week to start to study China and Russia and things like that, because I want to know. I want to — I called one of my best friends and said, "Let's get the Risk board out and bring your brother, you know, who's retired CIA down, and I want to know. I want to understand."

As a state legislator for almost 20 years, Morse has not had to focus much on foreign affairs questions. Much of his time has been spent on taking away reproductive rights and opposing protections for LGBTQ people.

But the U.S. Senate is a very different animal. Under the Constitution, it has a major role in foreign relations matters. The Senate alone is tasked with confirming ambassadors and ratifying international treaties.

While he's now trying to learn about how to do that job, he has already made several questionable attacks on Hassan and other Democrats over their handling of international affairs.

In January, as President Joe Biden prepared to send troops to protect NATO allies in Eastern Europe again potential attacks by Vladimir Putin's Russian regime, Morse mocked the move. "Only in Biden's Washington would he send 8500 troops to support a foreign border but have zero troops on our border," he tweeted, scolding Hassan for "deathly silence" on the idea. In reality, thousands of U.S. troops are already serving at the Southern border.

After Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine, Morse was quick to pin the blame for it — without any substantiation — on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and other advocates of a not actually enacted plan to address climate change and social issues. "The people that have created this New Green Deal [sic] own the responsibility for the fact that we're looking at a war right now," he told a New Hampshire radio station on March 1.

He also claimed — with no evidence — in a late February press release that the "Hassan-Biden weakness in Foreign Policy since January 2021 is the main reason for this Russian invasion."

Morse attempted on Thursday to suggest that Russia's attacks were not to blame for recent gas price increases, claiming, "While Maggie Hassan and the Democrats want you to think the spike in costs is caused by Putin's war on Ukraine, this has been happening since Joe Biden took the oath of office."

But according to AAA, gas prices in New Hampshire averaged $4.278 per gallon on Monday — up more than 86 cents since a month earlier. That spike was more than prices had gone up in total (70.1 cents per gallon) in the preceding 11 months.

Morse demanded in February that Hassan oppose efforts to get Iran to agree to halt nuclear proliferation, asserting that doing so "empowers Iran to eventually build Nuclear Weapons that can reach any of our allies in the region." But experts note that Iran has made progress toward making a nuclear weapon since former President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the existing nonproliferation agreement and imposed economic sanctions on Iran.

Morse also spread a dishonest attack on Biden's special climate envoy, former Secretary of State John Kerry, smearing him for accurately acknowledging — in response to a direct question from a reporter for the BBC's Arabic service — that Russia's invasion of Ukraine could have a negative impact on the climate.

"As Russia invades Ukraine with death & destruction, Democrat John Kerry hopes that 'Putin will help us stay on track with respect to what we need to do for the climate.' Is that Hassan's priority right now too?" Morse wrote. "@SenatorHassan campaigned for John Kerry and should be embarrassed."

Morse did not immediately respond to an inquiry about his foreign policy experience.

But at least one of his top advisers has come under fire for extremist comments about the United Nations. In January, Morse's general strategist Dave Carney attacked the international body for agreeing to a resolution condemning Holocaust denial, tweeting, "And again remind me how much money we pour down this rat hole each year? Anyone?"

Last year, Republican leaders in Congress attempted to persuade Gov. Chris Sununu to run for the Senate seat. He refused — saying he did not want to be a part of the obstructionist Republican conference that appeared "content with the speed at which they weren't doing anything."

Without their top recruit, New Hampshire Republicans will have to choose between Morse and a handful of other candidates to face the first-term Hassan.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.