Libertarian-leaning Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is one of the minority of congressional Republicans — including Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Tom Massie (R-Ky.) — not onboard with President Donald Trump’s decision to conduct missile strikes in Syria.
During an interview on Fox Business’ “Varney & Co.,” host Stuart Varney asked Paul what his “immediate reaction” was to Trump’s actions in Syria as a Russian ship reportedly steams toward our forces in the Mediterranean.
“This is why we should have a deliberate discussion. This is why this should originate in Congress,” Paul said. “This is why our Founding Fathers said under the Constitution that wars should be debated fully by Congress and initiated and declared by Congress.
“The president really doesn’t have the authority under the Constitution to initiate war, and so what I think we’re doing now is illegal and unconstitutional,” he continued.
Paul would not answer as to whether or not he personally approved of Trump’s actions but instead, reasserted that the move was unconstitutional and that a debate was needed to decide whether or not the U.S. should proceed forward.
The senator went on to remind Varney that there was massive approval to go to war with Iraq and that the war served to strengthen Iran.
“If we topple Assad, what comes next? Will we like the Islamic rebels that take over? Perhaps they hate us and Israel more than Assad does,” Paul said, referring to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.
Paul, along with Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee, wrote an open letter to Trump in January, urging him to not follow the same path President Barack Obama had when it came to initiating military actions overseas.
Paul and Lee urged Trump to seek the approval of Congress before making any strategic decisions, saying “the complexity of the security questions we face as a nation calls for robust debate, prudence and cooperation. The challenges are too great and the risks too high to simply defer to yesterday’s status quo. Now is the time for bold leadership and sober judgment.”