Virginia Democrats Respond to Trump’s Iranian Airstrike

There’s been a lot of questions raised since news broke that Donald Trump launched an airstrike against Iran that killed Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani. While there doesn’t seem to be any doubt the Iranian general was a horrible man who needed to be held accountable for his past actions, people from a variety of different backgrounds are questioning Trump’s actions.

The airstrike seems to have been carried out almost on a whim without consulting Congress through things such as the tradition of notifying the “Gang of 8” before the mission was launched. There’s also no clear strategy, which puts the country’s national security at risk as there are already reports of potential cyber attacks by Iran in retaliation for the strike.

While Congressional Republicans have mostly praised Trump for launching the attack that could potentially lead to war with Iran, most national security experts and Congressional Democrats have spoken out against the careless manner in which the attack was conducted. Those making public remarks about the president’s decision include Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA10).

“Suleimani was a brutal killer who deserved to meet justice, but President Trump’s airstrike has brought us to the brink of war with no clear strategy or plan,” Wexton tweeted. “The American people are not seeking a war with Iran, nor did Congress authorize one.”

Wexton not only criticized Trump’s actions, but would also later on focus in on some legislative options the House of Representatives is considering.

“Article 1 of the Constitution places the power to declare war and authorize military force with Congress, not the President,” the Congresswoman said while retweeting remarks by Rep. Andy Levin. “I’m cosponsoring the bipartisan #AUMF Clarification Act because there can be no war with Iran without the express approval of Congress—that must be clear.”

Rep. Gerry Connolly, who serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and was a senior staffer for the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee before running for office himself, also spoke about how Trump’s actions could have a devastating impact on our foreign policy.

“President Trump has unleashed the dogs of war in approving the drone attack that killed Iranian General Qassim Suleimani, the head of Quds forces in the region,” Connolly tweeted. “It will enrage Shia communities in the ME, further destabilize the Iraqi government and bring Iran and the US to the brink of war. A dangerous and portentous decision.”

Connolly would also later appear on MSNBC to say Trump’s behavior isn’t acceptable just because his “enabler-in-chief Lindsay Graham happened to be at Mar-a-Largo with his golfing partner and therefore got briefed.” He added that “the legislative branch” needs to be “consulted and informed” on matters such as the airstrike.

In response to the airstrike, Rep. Don Beyer took to twitter to highlight how the House has passed legislation that would have blocked Trump from attacking Iran without Congressional authorization, but “the Senate’s obstruction is a huge problem.”

Rep. Bobby Scott has also echoed the sentiment that Congress needs to receive justification in a tweet that said “it is important that the Trump Administration immediately present to Congress all the information it relied on to justify this airstrike, as well as its strategy as to how it intends to address this situation moving forward.

In other words, Virginia’s Democrats are actively making it clear their opposition to the attack isn’t because they don’t like Trump. It’s because his actions are part of a larger trend of ignoring the foreign policy ramifications of his decisions and refusing to follow his constitutional obligations to respect Congress as an equal branch of government.

About Bryan J. Scrafford

Bryan Scrafford grew up in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC and stayed in the region for both college and his professional life. An avid baseball and hockey fan, Bryan's also involved with several advocacy organizations fighting for economic justice, LGBT rights, and other issues. You can follow him on twitter at @bscrafford and Instagram at @bjscrafford
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