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Mass. Congressional Delegation Calls Syria Airstrikes Unconstitutional

Damascus skies erupt with surface to air missile fire as the U.S. launches an attack on Syria early Saturday, April 14, 2018. (Hassan Ammar/AP)MoreCloseclosemore
Damascus skies erupt with surface to air missile fire as the U.S. launches an attack on Syria early Saturday, April 14, 2018. (Hassan Ammar/AP)

After the U.S., Britain and France carried out airstrikes in Syria early Saturday, the Massachusetts all-Democratic congressional delegation is criticizing President Trump's decision to take action without congressional authorization.

Trump ordered the strikes in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack by Syrian President Bashar Assad last week. While the representatives criticized the action carried out, they all expressed the need to hold Assad accountable.

Congressman Seth Moulton, an Iraq war veteran, tweeted Friday night: "Anyone who uses chemical weapons should be stopped." However, he called on Trump to formulate a strategy for U.S. action in Syria.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren said the U.S. should be part of a strategy to hold Assad accountable for violence against the Syrian people, but said if Trump "wants to expand American military involvement in Syria's civil war, he must seek approval from Congress."

Likewise, Sen. Ed Markey, who is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called the airstrikes unconstitutional because the White House ordered them without congressional authorization. He also expressed concern that this tactic would "push the United States closer to what could be an interminable, all-out conflict in Syria."

“President Trump has failed to launch a multi-faceted diplomatic process in Syria and appears ready to repeat that failure again," Markey said in a statement. "Holding Russia, Iran, and Syria accountable for their support for the continuing civil war does not require military force. Instead of implementing mandatory sanctions overwhelmingly passed by Congress, the President let Russia escape culpability for its protection of the murderous regime in Damascus."

Reps. Katherine Clark, Jim McGovern and Joe Kennedy III similarly voiced the need the need for a plan in Syria but criticized the president for carrying out airstrikes without congressional approval.

With reporting by WBUR's Bob Shaffer and Amy Gorel.

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