Anyone who knows anything about the separation of powers understands that a president cannot just unilaterally take military action. He needs approval from Congress to execute an act of war. However, since Donald Trump is president and he seems to think he is somehow above the law, he doesn’t bother with silly little details like that. As a result, we got his launching of 59 Tomahawk missiles into a Syrian airfield. It turns out that quite a few people in Congress believe what Trump did to be potentially illegal. One such person is Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA).
Rep. Lieu is one of Trump’s harshest critics and perhaps his most prolific Twitter troll. When it came to Trump’s military action in Syria, Lieu did not mince words. Speaking with MSNBC’s Katy Tur, Lieu said:
“Clearly, the president can take limited actions that the Congress has authorized such as going against terrorists who were involved with 9/11 or in terms of Iraq when Congress authorized the use of force in 2002, but there’s been no congressional authorization to launch fifty-nine cruise missiles at a country that has not attacked us. Donald Trump’s action last night was unconstitutional. He should not do it again.”
Rep. Lieu then went on to explain his problems with the launch and the dangers of taking such drastic action with no authorization and no clear strategy, after being asked if he would have authorized this action if he had been given the opportunity to do so:
“I might have if he would have articulated a strategy, and that is one of my fundamental problems with what he did. There has been no coherent strategy from the Trump administration. Last week, they signaled they were okay with Assad even though he had previously killed hundreds of thousands of people in Syria and used chemical weapons. Last night, they attacked the Assad regime. We need to know what is the Trump administration thinking and what is their long-term strategy in Syria?”
Rep. Lieu is right. Trump’s actions went against the Constitution. He cannot unilaterally make war. Further, he is clearly an erratic, impulsive man. Said erratic, impulsive man now has the power to destroy the world with one temper tantrum. Therefore, more than ever, it is absolutely imperative that Congress use its Article I powers to check and balance this dangerously unstable president.
Watch Rep. Lieu’s remarks below:
Featured image via video screen capture