During an interview on MSNBC, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said that Trump’s missile strike against Syria was unconstitutional and warned the president not to do it again.
Rep. Lieu said, “Clearly, the president can take limited actions that the Congress has authorized such as going against terrorists who were involved with 9/11 or in terms of Iraq when Congress authorized the use of force in 2002, but there’s been no congressional authorization to launch fifty-nine cruise missiles at a country that has not attacked us. Donald Trump’s action last night was unconstitutional. He should not do it again.”
MSNBC’s Katy Tur asked Lieu if he would have voted for authorization if Trump had come to Congress. The congressman from California answered, “I might have if he would have articulated a strategy, and that is one of my fundamental problems with what he did. There has been no coherent strategy from the Trump administration. Last week, they signaled they were okay with Assad even though he had previously killed hundreds of thousands of people in Syria and used chemical weapons. Last night, they attacked the Assad regime. We need to know what is the Trump administration thinking and what is their long-term strategy in Syria?”
The questions that Rep. Lieu asked are why Trump didn’t go to Congress for approval before he launched missiles against Syria. The Trump administration has no Syria plan. The administration’s message has been inconsistent on Assad. It was appropriate for the US to respond, but the way that Donald Trump carried out the response was unconstitutional.
Donald Trump can’t be allowed to use the chemical attack in Syria as an excuse for an executive branch power grab.
The AUMF does not give Trump the power to attack Syria.
At times like these, it is vital that members of Congress and the American people not get swept up in the emotion of seeing pictures of gassed Syrian babies. The Constitution must come first, and if there is a lesson to be learned from post-9/11 politics, it is that we should never be manipulated by the heat of the moment into violating our system of checks and balances.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association