Top Democrats Back Trump's Syria Strike


Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York and Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, leaders of the Democrats in the Senate and House respectively, have spoken out in favor of President Donald Trump's decision to fire missiles at a Syrian government air base.

But Pelosi urged Republican Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to call Congress back from its spring recess to debate Trump's use of force in Syria, The Hill reported.

Trump ordered the launching of 59 Tomahawk missiles April 6. He justified the attack by blaming the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad for launching a chemical weapons attack on April 4, which killed more than 70 people.

Russia, the Syrian government's main ally, denied that Assad was responsible for the poison gas attack and alleged a Syrian airstrike hit a rebel-controlled munitions warehouse where chemical weapons were being stored, The Christian Science Monitor reported.

"Making sure Assad knows that when he commits such despicable atrocities he will pay a price is the right thing to do," Schumer said, according to ABC News.

Schumer noted missile strikes would not be enough.

"It is incumbent on the Trump administration to come up with a strategy and consult with Congress before implementing it. I salute the professionalism and skill of our Armed Forces who took action today," he added.

Pelosi described the missile strike as "a proportional response to the regime's use of chemical weapons," The Hill reported.

She urged that a congressional debate be held soon.

"The President's action and any response demands that we immediately do our duty," Pelosi wrote in a letter to Ryan.

"Congress must live up to its constitutional responsibility to debate an Authorization of the Use of Military Force against a sovereign nation."

Other Democrats were more critical.

"This was done with no debate in Congress & no explanation to the American people," Democratic Re. Ted Lieu of California wrote on Twitter, reports ABC. "Assad is still in power. What was purpose of strike? How much did this cost? Was Assad a threat to US homeland? How does this achieve peace?"

Lieu pointed out that Trump "campaigned to get US out of foreign wars. His actions in Syria, Iraq & Yemen show he is acting like a warmonger."

A majority of Republicans supported Trump's decision.

"Unlike the previous administration, President Trump confronted a pivotal moment in Syria and took action. For that, he deserves the support of the American people," a joint statement from Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina read.

But Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky dissented.

"While we all condemn the atrocities in Syria, the United States was not attacked," Paul tweeted.

"The President needs Congressional authorization for military action as required by the Constitution," he added.

Sources: ABC News, The Hill, The Christian Science Monitor / Photo credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls/Wikimedia Commons

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