Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger declared Wednesday that he is "ashamed" of the U.S. government’s inaction in the wake of a deadly chemical attack in Syria.
According to a report from the Washington Post, 72 people — including 20 children — were left dead after the release of toxic gases in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun. The United States has said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government is responsible for the attack.
CNN "New Day" host Alisyn Camerota asked Kinzinger what he would say to Bana Alabed, 7, a Syrian refugee who gained international attention on social media after tweeting about her life in Syria.
"I'm ashamed of our government's actions so far and inaction. I wish I had the ability to move forces to do what needs to be done," Kinzinger replied, adding that he would tell Alabed that “people are paying attention.”
“The problem is we need more people to pay attention and get past our fear of action because of what we felt the wars have been like in the past,” the congressman said.
"These are all kids that want to be teachers, that want to be doctors, they want to be police officers," he said. "They dream of having a family of their own someday. And an evil dictator named Bashar al-Assad decides that it is to his political advantage to put chemical weapons in their face and choke them to death. That’s what’s happening."
Calling the attack a "terrible humanitarian crisis," Kinzinger said that such atrocities are “going to continue” unless the U.S. and its allies respond and that he hopes President Donald Trump publicly addresses the attack.
"I think the administration needs a plan to rally our allies together," he said, arguing the United States should make clear that Assad will pay a price for using chemical weapons.
"We've got to quit pretending like this is going to burn itself out,” Kinzinger said. “It simply isn't. This is a apartment on fire in an apartment building. It's not a house on fire in an isolated neighborhood."
.@RepKinzinger to 7-year old Syrian refugee Bana Alabed: "I'm ashamed of our government's action ... and inaction" https://t.co/zhdgdl6y6A
— New Day (@NewDay) April 5, 2017
In a Tuesday statement, Trump pointed to Assad’s regime as the source of the attack, arguing that “the past administration’s weakness and irresolution” emboldened him.
“President Obama said in 2012 that he would establish a 'red line' against the use of chemical weapons and then did nothing,” Trump said. “The United States stands with our allies across the globe to condemn this intolerable attack.”
The attack came just days after White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the U.S. is no longer seeking to remove Assad from power.
“There is a political reality that we have to accept in terms of where we are right now,” Spicer told reporters during his March 31 press briefing. “We had an opportunity and we need to focus on now defeating ISIS.”
(H/T: The Hill)