Donald Trump campaign event at Peabody Opera House in St. Louis

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Local Response to Airstrikes in Syria

April 14, 2018 - 2:40 pm

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - We've compiled some reactions from bi-state region members of Congress to Friday's joint airstrikes carried out by the United States, Great Britain, and France, reportedly targeting Syria's chemical weapons facilities.

Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO): “President Trump, along with our allies, organized the right response to Bashar al-Assad’s horrific chemical attack. I commend the swift action on the part of all the military forces that carried out this mission. I support this effort and believe the president has the full authority to take these actions."

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL): "I supported President Obama’s decision to retaliate when Assad first used chemical weapons. The Foreign Relations Committee voted to authorize that action but only two Republican senators would publicly support it, and without congressional support, the President did not proceed. Pres. Trump’s action again raises the constitutional question of his authority to unilaterally attack another nation without congressional approval. It is time for Congress and the American people to have that debate about military force in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. This issue is only further complicated by the Administration’s decimation of the State Department, as well as this President congratulating Vladimir Putin for his sham re-election and then confronting him for his role in the atrocities in Syria days later."

Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL): "The world cannot turn a blind eye to the Assad regime’s repeated use of illegal chemical weapons against their own people. Violations of absolute, unquestioned international norms, like the prohibition on the use of chemical weapons, must be confronted by the entire international community. While these strikes will have undoubtedly degraded the Assad regime’s ability to conduct a chemical weapons attack, we must be clear-eyed about whether they will actually change this regime’s behavior. The military strike the United States launched on a Syrian airfield a year ago in response to the sarin gas attack in Khan Sheikhoun did not prevent Assad from continuing to use chemical weapons to murder innocent civilians – this month’s attack was not an anomaly. The international community had a moral obligation to act but limited airstrikes will not be effective without a broader strategy with our allies that connects military action with political objectives. To date, the President has not offered a strategy. Instead, he initially reacted to the chemical attack recklessly, tweeting military threats and signaling his intentions. While the President rightly consulted our allies, I am also particularly alarmed that the Trump Administration did not first seek Congressional authorization for these strikes despite having ample time to do so, leaving these strikes on questionable legal ground. Article I of the Constitution gives Congress the responsibility to authorize military action. It’s past time we acted like the coequal branch of government we are and had a debate about any further use of military force as the Constitution requires.”

Congressman Mike Bost (R-IL): "The use of chemical weapons is a war crime. Period. President Trump is right in sending a clear message to the Assad regime that inhumane acts like these are intolerable."