Members of the Florida congressional delegation weighed in after President Donald Trump authorized launching airstrikes against chemical weapons sites in Syria. France and the United Kingdom also took part in the airstrikes.
From his perch on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., applauded the strikes.
“Our commander-in-chief ordered our military to defend America’s vital national security interest in preventing hostile regimes like Syria’s Assad regime from using chemical weapons and other weapons of mass destruction,” Rubio said over the weekend. “I salute the men and women of our Armed Forces who conducted this mission bravely and skillfully with our British and French allies. I urge the administration to follow up with a real and comprehensive strategy for ending Assad’s threat to his people, to the region and to U.S. security, and for countering Russian and Iranian support for the Syrian dictatorship’s ongoing barbarity.”
U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., who sits on the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, weighed in on Saturday, supporting the airstrikes but insisting the White House should have gone to Congress for authorization.
“Last night, President Trump in coordination with French and British leadership ordered a series of surgical missile strikes on the Assad regime’s chemical weapons program and storage facilities,” Yoho said. “Over 180 countries have signed the Chemical Weapons Convention treaty. Assad and Syria are not signatories to the treaty. President Assad is in clear violation of what the world views as unacceptable actions toward innocent citizens. A dictator that uses illegal chemical weapons to murder anyone let alone his people must be held accountable for his actions. Thus, from a humanitarian point of view, I agree with the president, Great Britain, and France to intervene.
“However, as a member of Congress, it is Congress that ultimately has authority for any military action by the United States against another nation and not the Administration except in imminent threats to the homeland,” Yoho added. “I am disappointed that after the urging of 88 of my House colleagues that share this opinion, the president acted without the cooperation of Congress. As stated in our letter sent Friday, April 13th, ‘we stand ready to consider the facts before us and share the burden of decisions made regarding U.S. involvement.’
“I would prefer to have conclusive evidence that the production and use of chlorine gas used in the attacks originated with the Assad regime,” Yoho concluded. “Once that is established, proceed with the formation of a coalition of nations, similar to what President Trump did with Great Britain and France to address these atrocities. Then have Assad and his regime brought up on war crimes at The Hague, tried and punished accordingly.”
Like Yoho, some Democrats in the Florida delegation backed the airstrikes but said Trump needed congressional approval to launch them.
"The use of chemical weapons is a violation of international law to which a response is wholly justified,” said U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla. “Bashar Al-Assad's atrocities against the Syrian people demand a firm and comprehensive strategy. However, that will require more careful deliberation and less belligerent bluster from the President. President Trump must deploy all the tools of American power - not just our military - and secure from Congress an Authorization of Use of Military Force in order to improve the prospects of bringing the horrific civil war in Syria to a long overdue end."
“The seven year Syrian civil war is one of the great humanitarian crises of our time,” said U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla. “One night of air strikes is not a substitute for a needed comprehensive strategy that includes robust political and diplomatic engagement in order to bring the conflict to an end. Moving forward, absent an imminent attack on our country, President Trump must secure a new Authorization for Use of Military Force from Congress before taking further military action against the Assad regime.”
READ MORE FROM SUNSHINE STATE NEWS