Selling weapons to Saudi Arabia is hypocritical

Trump US Saudi Arabia
President Trump stands with Saudi King Salman at the Gulf Cooperation Council meeting in Riyadh on Sunday.

Arm sales to Saudis hypocritical

The Trump family began its foreign tour in Saudi Arabia for a reason: sales of military equipment, totaling more than $110 billion ("Trump, Saudis sign huge arms deal," Sunday). All the talk of live-and-let-live with Islam - while an improvement over the anti-Muslim rhetoric of the campaign - cannot hide the hypocrisy of this fact.

Freedom House, which advocates for human rights, calls Saudi Arabia "one of the worst human rights abusers in the world," violating the rights of women and minorities, including Christians, Jews, and non-Sunni Muslims. Yet, President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson tilted heavily toward Saudi Arabia and the six Gulf Cooperation Council states. This is a shortsighted policy that will not bring peace to the Middle East.

Also, the administration's strategic posturing in support of Turkey and Russia, with their anti-democratic leadership, is not a good sign. We need a U.S. government that will stand up for the rights of women, children, minorities, and the dispossessed, not just those in control of huge arms budgets.

Tillerson has said this is a "realistic" policy. Is it realistic, however, to rally in favor of despotic rulers and ignore their disadvantaged youth, women, and minorities? I don't think the vast majority of citizens of those countries will think so.

|Edward A. Aguilar, Pennsylvania director, Coalition for Peace Action, Philadelphia

A common interest?

Must every claim or assertion by the president's committed enemies (the media, Democrats, progressives, bureaucrats) be taken as soon as it is uttered ("Mounting troubles," Saturday)? Is the press missing the bigger story: too many forces are stacked against the better solutions to our many problems? Could not the president be right in communicating with another nation in combating a common enemy?

|Henry Coxe, Ambler

Budget will hurt middle class

President Trump's budget is not just the wrong approach, but a recipe for fewer jobs, lower incomes, and less opportunity for Pennsylvania families ("Proposed budget cuts stir alarm aming activists," Tuesday). It cuts Social Security, decimates Medicaid, and ends the Children's Health Insurance Program. It is an extreme document that reads like a wish list of special-interest giveaways and is riddled with broken promises.

This budget cuts services for middle-class families, children, seniors, and those with disabilities to give massive tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans and big corporations. Under this budget, middle-class families will get stuck with the bill. This budget will devastate Pennsylvanians living in rural communities by decimating Medicaid and cutting vital economic development programs. Instead of keeping his promises, this budget is further evidence that the president has fully embraced the agenda of far-right congressional Republicans, who prioritize tax cuts for those at the very top above all else.

|Bob Casey, U.S. senator, Scranton, Pa.

Medicaid is desperately needed

Buried on page 5 of Monday's Inquirer was the alarming article about President Trump's plan cut more than $800 billion in Medicaid funding over 10 years ("Trump's budget plan targets Medicaid"). When I gave birth to a baby with two heart defects 41 years ago, I never dreamed that an adult child of mine would need Medicaid. Yet now, because of her life experience, I understand how desperately many people need Medicaid insurance to stay alive.

Sen. Patrick Toomey (R., Pa.), who so often refers to himself as pro-life, is on the committee of 13 Republicans with an opportunity to change the president's drastic plan. They can maintain the belief, held since the 1960s, that health care is a human right, and the federal government pays states for each qualifying individual. Or, they can cap expenditures, forcing states to either throw sick people out to die or raise local taxes to humanely care for them. Which side is Toomey on?

|Mardys Leeper, Villanova, ma1leeper@gmail.com

No longer an independent

I am 70 years old and have long taken pride in my status as an independent voter ("non-aligned," they call it in Pennsylvania).

In my first presidential vote, I wrote in the name of Eugene McCarthy, and in 1980 I voted for Independent John Anderson in his contest with Jimmy Carter. But that was then, and this is a different time. Republican "moderates" seem to have become an extinct species.

In this heated and divisive climate, I find my choice as a progressive almost always limited to voting a straight Democratic ticket, and I think it is important to elect progressives at even the most local rungs of the political system. So, after all these years and with great reluctance, I finally bit the bullet. On Monday, I changed my voter registration. I am a Democrat now.

|Thomas Felicetti, Ardmore

A gold-medal moment

I was thrilled to read about the inaugural Stotesbury Cup Regatta in 1927 ("Stotesbury Cup Regatta," Friday). My grandfather, Paul E. Geyer, was a member of that winning boys' senior eight race from his beloved West Catholic High School. In fact, I have the gold medal he was awarded for that victory on May 30, 1927.

|MaryAnn Grow, Philadelphia, maryanngrow54@gmail.com