Secretary of State John Kerry told House Democrats on Monday that the decision whether or not to authorize a military response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime’s use of chemical weapons was a “Munich moment” for the United States, Politico reported.
Democratic sources on the 70-minute conference call told Politico that Kerry called Assad a “two-bit dictator” who will “continue to act with impunity.” The secretary of state urged lawmakers to support President Barack Obama’s decision to use force against Syria in the form of “limited, narrow” strikes, reminding them that Israel would back a U.S. military response, according to the sources.
While House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) voiced support for the White House position on the call, sources told Politico that not all participants were receptive to Kerry’s message. Rep. Rick Nolan (D-MN) and Kerry reportedly got into a “heated exchange” when Nolan challenged evidence the Obama administration presented last week to support its claim that the Assad regime used chemical weapons against Syrian civilians.
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.