Trump nonetheless mulling Syria response as Democrats blast tweets

Maxine Waters

Maxine Waters

President Donald Trump authorized retaliatory strikes in Syria on Friday, in response to an alleged chemical attack launched by President Bashar al-Assad outside of Damascus, which killed more than 40 civilians. The 1973 War Powers Act requires the President to receive congressional approval for any hostilities lasting longer than 60 days.

As questions swirled this week around how Trump would respond to the attack, so did continued uncertainty about updates to Congress' Authorizations for Use of Military Force.

Vice President Mike Pence, who is now on an official trip to Peru, reportedly called congressional leaders to notify them military action was going to be taken on Friday night. Every administration since, however, has argued that portions of the law are unconstitutional. The next speaker of the House must reclaim congressional war powers as prescribed in Article I of the Constitution.

"The last thing I want to see is an AUMF that makes it much more hard for our military to respond to keep us safe, because they have the authority to do that right now", Ryan said.

Earlier this week, Ryan had downplayed the need for Trump to seek additional congressional approval, arguing that the President had the authority to approve an attack under the current Authorization for Use of Military Force, passed in 2002 and used as a basis for military action in the broader United States fight against terrorism in the years since.

Rep. Eric Swalwell, a California Democrat, referred to Trump as "unhinged" in a tweet, while also directing him to go to Congress. But he backed away at the last minute when the Assad regime declared that it would give up its chemical weapons and allow worldwide inspectors to search its munitions sites for banned chemical agents. We also can not allow an unhinged (or hinged) President to unilaterally take America to war. "Americans deserve a voice", Swalwell said. Tell us length of time, # of troops, and terrain covered.

And Kentucky congressman Thomas Massie ran through a list of questions that had been raised by Trump's action, including "can he strike China, Russia or Britain under the same authority" and "can he bomb Assad's living quarters". Bob Casey, D-Pennsylvania, tweeted.

"President Trump's decision to launch airstrikes against the Syrian government without Congress's approval is illegal and - absent a broader strategy - it's reckless", Kaine, the 2016 Democratic vice presidential nominee, said in a statement. We need to stop giving presidents a blank check to wage war, ' he tweeted.

Trump "must come to Congress to obtain a new AUMF (authorization for use of military force), present a clear set of objectives, & ultimately hold Putin accountable for the bloodshed he has enabled", she added, referring to President Vladimir Putin of Russian Federation, the Syrian regime's most powerful ally.

"Today, it's a strike on Syria - what's going to stop him from bombing Iran or North Korea next?"

Rep. Salud Carbajal, also a Marine veteran, said the president's tweets "confuse our allies" by signaling "radical foreign policy shifts in a matter of hours".

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