Durbin Statement On Airstrikes In Syria

SPRINGFIELD—U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement on the airstrikes in Syria announced by President Trump:

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly called me personally before the President’s announcement, and last Tuesday, Defense Secretary Mattis briefed me on the early planning and involvement of our allies, Great Britain and France. 

I supported President Obama’s decision to retaliate when Assad first used chemical weapons. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to authorize that action but only two Republican senators would publicly support it, and without congressional support, President Obama did not proceed. 

President Trump’s action still raises the constitutional question of his authority to unilaterally attack another nation without congressional authorization. It is time for Congress and the American people to engage in a national debate about that authorization to use 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.