The United States, France and Britain launched military strikes in Syria to punish President Bashar Assad for an apparent chemical attack against civilians and to deter him from doing it again.
Pentagon officials said the attacks targeted the heart of Assad’s programs to develop and produce chemical weapons.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said there were no reports of U.S. losses in what he described as a heavy but carefully limited assault.
President Donald Trump said the U.S. is prepared to sustain economic, diplomatic and military pressure on Assad until he ends what the president called a criminal pattern of killing his own people with internationally banned chemical weapons. The allied attack set off a fierce international debate about whether it was justified.
Florida elected officials are weighing in on the strike. Here is a compilation of their responses.
U.S. Senator Bill Nelson:
I support the attack because Assad must be held accountable for the use of chemical weapons.
— Senator Bill Nelson (@SenBillNelson) April 14, 2018
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio:
“Tonight, our commander-in-chief ordered our military to defend America’s vital national security interest in preventing hostile regimes like Syria’s Assad regime from using chemical weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. I salute the men and women of our Armed Forces who conducted this mission bravely and skillfully with our British and French allies. I urge the Administration to follow up with a real and comprehensive strategy for ending Assad’s threat to his people, to the region and to U.S. security, and for countering Russian and Iranian support for the Syrian dictatorship’s ongoing barbarity.”
Gov. (and U.S. Senate candidate) Rick Scott:
“It’s the absolute right thing to do. Alongside our European allies, we must do what the previous Administration wouldn’t, which is respond swiftly and forcibly to use of chemical weapons.”
It’s the absolute right thing to do. Along side our European allies, we must do what the previous Administration wouldn’t, which is respond swiftly and forcibly to use of chemical weapons.https://t.co/hRlMDHImEp
— Rick Scott (@ScottforFlorida) April 14, 2018
U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan:
“The strike against Syria by U.S., British and French forces was a measured response to Bashar al-Assad’s use of internationally banned chemical weapons. Important not to escalate our role in the conflict or provoke Russian military action. #sayfie“
— Rep. Vern Buchanan (@VernBuchanan) April 14, 2018
U.S. Rep. Val Demings, who sure sounds like she is accusing the president of wagging the dog:
Tonight’s attack had no such congressional approval. Did he change his mind today in order to change the headlines or does he have a well thought out strategic plan? Time is sure to tell.
— Rep. Val Demings (@RepValDemings) April 14, 2018
U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, who is the ranking member of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee:
“The Syrian people have suffered for seven long years under the Assad regime’s ruthless attacks, with last week’s horrific use of chemical weapons tragically only the most recent. The use of chemical weapons cannot be tolerated, and tonight’s missile strikes reportedly targeting Assad’s chemical weapons infrastructure are a direct response to the Assad regime’s egregious violation of international law and an attempt to deter future use of chemical weapons.
“The Administration must now finally put forward a comprehensive strategy for responding to the Syrian crisis. This strategy must address the regional threats posed by Russia’s political and military cover to Syria and Iran’s efforts to entrench itself in Syria in order to destabilize the entire region.
“Tonight’s strikes also raise the urgent need to pass a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force. Congress must reassert its Constitutional authority with respect to the use of military force.
“The people of Syria have been suffering under Assad’s barrel bombs and besiegement for seven years. As we address the strategic threats, including the use of chemical weapons, we must also continue to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis that plagues the people of Syria.”
U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart:
“Tonight, President Trump took a firm stance and decisively punished the Assad dictatorship for its use of horrifying chemical weapons on innocent people. Bashar al-Assad has mercilessly murdered his own people with weapons so terrible that the international community has banned them for almost a century. Tonight’s strike was ordered to ensure chemical warfare remains a banned weapon. I also stand with the President in his condemnation of the Russian and Iranian regimes for their support of the Syrian despot still torturing his citizens.”
U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel:
“The seven-year Syrian civil war is one of the great humanitarian crises of our time. One night of air strikes is not a substitute for a needed comprehensive strategy that includes robust political and diplomatic engagement in order to bring the conflict to an end. Moving forward, absent an imminent attack on our country, President Trump must secure a new Authorization for Use of Military Force from Congress before taking further military action against the Assad regime.”
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz:
“I’m outraged by the use of chemical weapons anywhere in the world, and extremely grateful that America is able to defend itself and our allies. Any military action that puts our troops in danger must be carefully considered, and we must all pray for swift resolution.”
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) April 14, 2018
U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy:
The Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons against innocent civilians, including children, was a violation of international law & basic human decency. I support the limited strike by US/British/French forces on military targets in Syria to deter further use of these weapons. 1/2
— Rep Stephanie Murphy (@RepStephMurphy) April 14, 2018