‘Act of War': Members of Congress Respond to US Missile Strike in Syria

One Democrat said the administration acted "recklessly"

Members of Congress late Thursday took to Twitter to respond to the Trump administration's decision to fire a barrage of cruise missiles into Syria in retaliation for this week's gruesome chemical weapons attack against civilians.

Rep. Barbara Lee, D- Calif., called the move an "act of war" and said Congress must meet to debate the Syrian issue.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen Dick Durbin, D-Ill., released a statement saying that his "preliminary briefing by the White House indicated that this was a measured response to the Syrian nerve gas atrocity. Any further action will require close scrutiny by Congress, and any escalation beyond airstrikes or missile strike will require engaging the American people in that decision."

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said he supported the move, adding: "I hope this teaches President Assad not to use chemical weapons again.”

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said that "by acting decisively against the very facility from which Assad launched his murderous chemical weapons attack, President Trump has made it clear to Assad and those who empower him that the days of committing war crimes with impunity are over."  

U.S. Rep. Brendan F. Boyle, D-Pa., a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, echoed Lee's call for members of Congress to meet on Syria.

“As our country initiates military action against a foreign country, it is clear that Speaker Ryan must immediately recall members of Congress into an emergency session to debate and vote on our policy toward Syria," he said.

U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that while he was “encouraged that the Trump Administration has felt compelled to act forcefully in Syria against the Assad regime, I’m gravely concerned that the United States is engaging further militarily in Syria without a well-thought-out, comprehensive plan. Frankly, the President’s actions today generate more questions than answers."

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, released a statement calling Assad "a monster, a puppet of Russia and Iran, and he has once again used chemical weapons against his own citizens, murdering innocent men, women, and children."

“... Any military action in Syria must be justified as protecting the vital national security interests of America – including decisive action to prevent chemical weapons from falling into the hands of radical Islamic terrorists – and I look forward to our Commander-in-Chief making the case to Congress and the American people how we should do so in the days ahead,” he said.

Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif., in a statement, said “the chemical attack this week was the latest in a long line of brutal atrocities committed against the Syrian people by Bashar al-Assad – it warranted a response.

“However, I am concerned that President Trump would launch an attack unilaterally without consulting the legislative branch. Congress has not provided the authority to conduct war against the Syrian government. Going forward, the President owes it to Congress and the American people to inform them of the larger strategy in Syria and any future military actions."

U.S. Sens John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., released a joint statement, saying that "building on tonight’s credible first step, we must finally learn the lessons of history and ensure that tactical success leads to strategic progress. That means following through with a new, comprehensive strategy in coordination with our allies and partners to end the conflict in Syria."

"The first measure in such a strategy must be to take Assad’s air force—which is responsible not just for the latest chemical weapons attack, but countless atrocities against the Syrian people—completely out of the fight," they said.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, released a strong statement saying the administration acted "recklessly." 

“It angers and saddens me that President Trump has taken the advice of war hawks and escalated our illegal regime change war to overthrow the Syrian government. This escalation is short-sighted and will lead to more dead civilians, more refugees, the strengthening of al-Qaeda and other terrorists, and a possible nuclear war between the United States and Russia.

“This Administration has acted recklessly without care or consideration of the dire consequences of the United States attack on Syria without waiting for the collection of evidence from the scene of the chemical poisoning."   

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