PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer, one of the fiercest and most vocal critics of President Donald Trump, refused on Thursday to criticize Trump’s decision to launch dozens of cruise missiles at a Syrian air base.
“I think what was going on there was horrific,” Blumenauer said about the chemical attack against Syrian civilians.
The U.S. military said the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad orchestrated the attack.
“I think sending a surgical strike to this butcher is something in limited basis that may be appropriate,” Blumenauer said.
The attacks Thursday night targeted the airfield from which military officials believe the Syrian government launched chemical attacks earlier this week.
While Blumenauer said the attacks appeared limited, he quickly added he doesn’t necessarily trust Trump to show restraint moving forward.
“I think we need to be careful,” Blumenauer said. “You want to be able to make sure the responses are measured, send the right signals to friends, enemies and bystanders.”
Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, also a vocal Trump critic, echoed Blumenauer’s sentiments.
“Assad’s attacks against his own people are heinous and reprehensible,” Merkley said. “There is no doubt Assad has committed numerous war crimes, including this week’s chemical attack.”
Both Blumenauer and Merkley called for Trump to consult with Congress before launching any further military strikes in Syria.
“I have long felt we need to have another authorization for the use of force,” Blumenauer said. “I felt that with Obama, I feel that now.”
Trump himself tweeted in 2013 that President Barack Obama should get congressional approval before attacking Syria.
Blumenauer said he hasn’t heard that any any members of Congress were briefed on the strike before it happened.
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