CINCINNATI -- While some public officials praised the United States’ attack on Syria, others worried the strike would have major implications.
President Donald Trump cast 59 U.S. cruise missiles at a Syrian air base Thursday night in response to Syria’s recent chemical gas attacks against civilians. It was the United States’ first direct attack against the Syrian government and Trump’s most dramatic military order since taking office.
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, praised the attack, saying it was “appropriate” to hold Syria’s Bashar al-Assad accountable.
“Our men and women in uniform carried out this military strike with precision and skill, and I applaud their courage and bravery,” Portman said in a statement. “It was appropriate to hold Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad accountable for his cruel and illegal use of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians, including women and children.”
The U.S. needs a “comprehensive strategy with clearly-defined purpose,” Portman said, for how to achieve national security goals in Syria.
“As I have said before, only a coordinated and comprehensive effort by the United States and our allies will help bring an end to the refugee crisis, as well as the violence and devastation that has plagued Syria and the Middle East,” Portman said.
About two dozen lawmakers were briefed on the strikes, but Trump approved the action without consulting Congress or the United Nations.
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said the strike was a “proportional response” to Assad’s attacks, but he also said the strike poses many questions, including how it will impact troops and long-term military engagement in Syria.
“President Trump needs to come up with a strategy to resolve the Syrian conflict, share his plans with the American people and win their support before taking further action,” Brown said in a statement.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., also criticized the United States’ attack in Syria, and he called on Trump to obtain “congressional authorization for military action.”
"While we all condemn the atrocities in Syria, the United States was not attacked,” Paul said. “The President needs congressional authorization for military action as required by the Constitution, and I call on him to come to Congress for a proper debate. Our prior interventions in this region have done nothing to make us safer, and Syria will be no different."
But U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., praised the strike. He said he supports “both the action and the objective.”
“This was an action of consequence. It is a clear signal from America that Bashar al Assad can no longer use chemical weapons against his own people with impunity,” McConnell said.