Sunny Hostin, a liberal co-host on ABC's "The View," said Friday that President Donald Trump's order for airstrikes on a Syrian military base in response to the gassing of innocent civilians makes him a "dictator."
Several congressional Democrats criticized Trump's decision Thursday night to launch more than 50 tomahawk missiles against the Syrian airfield from where Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad is believed to have launched the chemical weapons attack against his own people earlier this week.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) took to Twitter, calling the U.S.'s response "unconstitutional" and "unlawful."
Assad is a brutal dictator who must be held account for atrocities. But the President's failure to seek congressional approval is unlawful— Tim Kaine (@Tim Kaine)1491535427.0
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) called it an "act of war," urging members of Congress to come back from recess to debate how the U.S. should proceed.
This is an act of war. Congress needs to come back into session & hold a debate. Anything less is an abdication of… https://t.co/YWWwxTFpcQ— Rep. Barbara Lee (@Rep. Barbara Lee)1491530080.0
Other Democrats, though, voiced support for the Syrian airstrikes.
I support the admin’s strike on the air base that launched the chemical attack. I hope this teaches Assad not to use chemical weapons again.— Bill Nelson (@Bill Nelson)1491531156.0
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), an Iraq War veteran, said she supported the strikes, but questioned America's willingness to stay engaged "if things go wrong."
"Because in war, they always do," Duckworth said, the Chicago Tribune reported.
While Congress was divided on whether Trump acted constitutionally, virtually all members agreed that if any further action is taken, Trump must get congressional authorization.
My statement on tonight's U.S. missile strikes in Syria https://t.co/nLcHq6jS01— Senator Dick Durbin (@Senator Dick Durbin)1491530628.0
.@SpeakerRyan, Congress must do its duty & come back into session at once to debate use of military force in Syria.… https://t.co/npADIaPlUo— Nancy Pelosi (@Nancy Pelosi)1491570212.0
Despite some bipartisan agreement that Trump's action was within constitutional bounds, as far as most of the women on "The View" are concerned, Trump has already exceeded his congressional authority. Co-host Joy Behar addressed former President Barack Obama's "red line" in Syria. She correctly noted that Obama did seek Congress' approval for military authorization there. No congressional vote — and therefore no strike — ever happened.
The Obama administration did, however, launch airstrikes in Syria against the Islamic State under congressional approval granted after 9/11.
On Thursday night's airstrikes, though, Hostin made clear her opposition, even suggesting the move by Trump made him a "dictator."
"If you look at the War Powers Act of 1973, it made it very clear that a president cannot act like this without Congress, and there are good reasons for that," Hostin said. "In 2001, after 9/11, certainly, it was broadened. Those powers were broadened, but only to the extent that the national interest — basically that there would be a direct attack on the United States."
According to the War Powers Act:
The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.
"President Trump did not have the authority to do this without Congress," Hostin said.
She later added: "I think it showed a dictator. I think it showed someone who is willing to unilaterally act without Congress and we've got to be very careful with that because what's his plan?"