House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said President Obama is a “tough hombre” in an interview with TIME, when asked what the president’s decision to seek congressional approval authorizing the use of military force in Syria signifies.
“I can’t say that it isn’t something that I didn’t know before, but I certainly do think that it’s a sign of strength… I would say he’s a tough hombre,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi spoke with TIME over the phone on September 3d, shortly after making the case for missile strikes against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at the White House.
She added that she encouraged “consultation” with Congress on Syria, though she noted that the president doesn’t need authorization, explaining that she thinks it “strengthens [the president's] hand, and our country’s hand, and our moral standing to Bashar Assad” to have congressional support.
When asked how intervening in Syria over chemical weapons is different than intervening in Iraq, Pelosi said the two issues are “distinctly different” because the evidence “did not support the threat that was being described by the Bush Administration,” whereas this time the intelligence “does support the facts: that the Bashar Assad regime is responsible for the chemical weapons attack on [his] own people.”
“When you use a weapon of mass destruction against your own people…you not only challenge the conscience of the world, you challenge the credibility of the world leadership,” she said.
Pelosi also took a swipe at the United Nations and Russia, in particular, for failing to act quickly on the issue, adding that we don’t necessarily need their support.
“Just [because] other countries don’t want to assume a responsibility doesn’t mean that we can’t,” she said. “Another point that I think is important now is people are saying I want to see what the UN will do. Well, the Security Council is becoming a convoy; it goes as slow as the slowest ship. And the slowest ship is the President of Russia. If that’s the standard by which we measure our responsibilities, then we’ll probably never do very much.”
Read the entire interview at TIME.
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