After the Trump administration ordered missile strikes on a Syrian air base on Thursday night, many members of Congress approved of the move. But President Donald Trump faced some criticism for launching the strikes, and some members warned the President to seek authorization from Congress before escalating action in Syria further.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) called the strikes “appropriate and just.” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) also said the action was “proportional” but told the administration that if Trump intends to “escalate” military action in Syria, he must obtain authorization from Congress.
Several Republican and Democratic lawmakers also signaled their support for Trump’s response while adding that any escalation should come after consulting with Congress.
Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement that the Trump administration’s response was “measured,” but added that Trump must work with Congress moving forward on policy toward Syria.
My statement on tonight’s U.S. missile strikes in Syria pic.twitter.com/nLcHq6jS01
— Senator Dick Durbin (@SenatorDurbin) April 7, 2017
My statement in response to U.S. missile strikes in #Syria: pic.twitter.com/8oL0QlpIeS
— Senator Bob Corker (@SenBobCorker) April 7, 2017
A handful of Republican and Democratic lawmakers also criticized Trump for acting without Congress’ approval.
“Congress will work with the President, but his failure to seek Congressional approval is unlawful,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) said in a statement.
“While I’m 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,” Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) said in a statement. “Coordination and openness with Congress is more important than ever, and President Trump must seek an authorization for the use of military force from Congress, especially if this attack signals an intention to consider launching a campaign against Assad.”
Airstrikes are an act of war. Atrocities in Syria cannot justify departure from Constitution, which vests in Congress power to commence war.
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) April 7, 2017
This is an act of war. Congress needs to come back into session & hold a debate. Anything less is an abdication of our responsibility. https://t.co/GvHML3ByeI
— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) April 7, 2017
A few members also opposed the strikes altogether.
“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,” Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), who met with Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad on a trip to Syria, said in a statement. “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.”
Our prior interventions in this region have done nothing to make us safer and Syria will be no different.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) April 7, 2017
Have we still not learned from the disasters in Iraq and Libya? Now Syria? Every time we have attacked since 2001, terrorism has spread.
— Ro Khanna (@RoKhannaUSA) April 7, 2017
What is the strategy here? What is our end goal? Why did we have to strike today? This is not how you conduct a military strike. https://t.co/owJc9Nz8GC
— Ruben Gallego (@RubenGallego) April 7, 2017