Will Democrats stick with Trump over Syria and Assad? The current answer is: Maybe.
Just over a year ago, President Donald Trump surprised some “America First’ supporters by launching a major missile strike against Syria’s Assad regime in the wake of a nerve-agent chemical attack on its own citizens. At that time, none of New Hampshire’s Democrats in Congress opposed the president’s military action.
“I’m supportive of the Trump administration’s decision to launch air strikes in response to Assad’s assault on his own people,” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said at the time. Sen. Hassan concurred: “The U.S. military strikes against the Syrian airfield where Assad launched chemical weapons attacks against innocent civilians represent an appropriate response,” she said.
Only Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, widely viewed as the most liberal member of the NH delegation, withheld overt support for the president’s decision to strike: “While our military strike was measured and carried out to send a warning, the situation on the ground is very complex and requires an accompanying diplomatic and humanitarian strategy,” Shea-Porter said.
With new accusations of yet another chemical attack by Assad, there’s talk of more military action by the Trump administration. How are NH Democrats reacting? As of late Monday, only Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Rep. Annie Kuster had spoken out on events Syria.
Sen. Shaheen released a statement Monday reading in part:
“This latest chemical attack by Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad on his own people is a disturbing reminder of the dangerous political influence of Russia and Tehran. I voted for military action when Assad launched illegal chemical weapons attacks in 2013, and I supported the Trump administration’s decision to launch airstrikes in response to Assad’s assault on civilians in 2017. However, military efforts alone are not sufficient to adequately deal with the Syrian civil war. As long as the conflict persists, terrorist organizations will continue to enjoy a safe haven in Syria and innocent people will continue to die.”
Shaheen went on to urge the formation of a “Syria Study Group” and for the State Department to investigate Syrian strongman Assad over possible war crimes.
Rep. Kuster released the following statement:
“I condemn in the strongest terms possible the chemical attack by Bashar al-Assad on his own people in Syria. I was appalled and deeply saddened by the graphic images of children and families who were the victims of Assad’s brutal assault. It’s critical that Assad and any other parties responsible for this chemical attack be held accountable. I urge President Trump to listen to U.S. military and diplomatic advisors and work closely with our allies to ensure swift consequences for this violation of international law. Moving forward the President should come to Congress for an Authorization for the Use of Military Force. The American people deserve an open debate about our response to these egregious actions and we should ensure a robust diplomatic strategy is in place to backup any military response deemed appropriate.”