MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Late Thursday, President Donald Trump ordered a military strike on the Syrian regime.
At least seven people were killed when U.S. forces fired nearly 60 cruise missiles from ships in the Mediterranean targeting a Syrian airfield.
Officials said the airfield is where Syrian warplanes carried out a chemical attack that killed more than 80 civilians earlier this week.
Here in Minnesota, politicians are reacting to Trump’s decision. Politicians on both sides supported the airstrike while firmly encouraging Trump to consult Congress before taking any further action.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar released the following statement.
“Using chemical weapons is an atrocity. These missile strikes targeted the air base used to launch the chemical attack, and it is right to show Assad that he will be held accountable. Moving forward, the Administration must consult with Congress.”
Sen. Al Franken’s statement was largely similar to Klobuchar’s, although he also urged Trump to change his position on Syrian refugees.
“President Bashar al-Assad’s horrific use of chemical weapons on his own people is a grave violation of international norms, and I believe the administration’s strike on a Syrian military installation was an appropriate response. But any further military escalation should not be done unilaterally and needs the approval of Congress. This incident underscores the brutality of the Assad regime and I hope it prompts President Trump to reconsider his position on accepting carefully vetted Syrian refugees who are trying to escape this kind of horror.”
Republican Rep. Jason Lewis echoed Franken and Klobuchar’s sentiments.
Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan, who represents Minnesota’s 8th District, also released a statement Friday.
Rep. Betty McCollum’s statement was largely similar to other Democrats’, but she also touched on Russia’s role in the matter.
“The Syrian military’s use of chemical weapons against civilians was a heinous violation of human rights and international norms and, alongside the more than 400,000 dead in the Syrian civil war, another example of the Assad regime’s crimes against humanity. The U.S. airstrike ordered by President Donald Trump against Syria’s Shayrat airfield was a restrained and limited response. However, President Trump’s show of force will likely have no real effect on the disastrous civil war that continues to rage in Syria, where both the Assad regime and ISIS control regions within a divided country.
“President Trump must be fully transparent with Congress and the American people about his plans for expanding the U.S. military’s role in the Syrian conflict. There are currently as many as 1,000 U.S. special forces inside Syria battling ISIS. American drone strikes against targets in Syria recently left scores of civilians dead, according to media reports. With this strike, it is clear that the Trump administration is expanding U.S. military involvement in Syria. It is absolutely imperative that President Trump come to Congress to ask for the legal authority to use additional military force in Syria – setting clearly defined parameters for American involvement. In 2013, Congress rejected President Obama’s request for authorization to conduct limited strikes against the Assad regime following chemical attacks on civilians. The failure of Republicans and Democrats in Congress to support President Obama gave Assad a green light to use these weapons again.
“The United States, working with our international allies and partners, needs a comprehensive plan to address the Syrian regime’s barbaric acts while keeping innocent Syrians safe. The need to coordinate with our allies and partners is made even more obvious by the fact the Russian government were either complicit or willfully ignorant as this chemical attack took place. President Trump must hold Russian President Putin accountable for enabling the Assad regime’s crimes. In addition, a comprehensive diplomatic and humanitarian plan to address the Syrian crisis must include the admission of Syrian refugees into the United States, something that President Trump extinguished with his discriminatory and bigoted ban on Muslim immigration.
“I urge Speaker Paul Ryan to immediately call the U.S. House of Representatives back into session. Now is not the time for Congress to be in recess for two weeks. Congress must fully debate the Trump administration’s military actions in Syria and set clear limits on the use of U.S. troops and military action in accord with our responsibilities under the Constitution.”