Remember back in April 2018 when Trump ordered a missile strike on a Syrian base containing chemical weapons?
I know. In the Age of Anti-Trump News, April 2018 feels like a century ago.
But he did.
At the time, then House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was furious that President Trump would order a targeted missile strike in Syria without Congressional consent.
She released a statement demanding that the President not act until or unless Congress passed an AUMF (Authorization for Use of Military Force).
Now, I have no problem with Congress stepping up and reclaiming its Constitutional duty when it comes to declaring war. In fact, I welcome it.
The Constitution gives Congress, not the President, the authority to declare war. And for years now, Congress has not been happy that military force was being used in Syria despite the lack of an AUMF.
So my one question is what changed?
Now Nancy is super upset with President Trump for not using the military force that Congress has not authorized through an AUMF.
Seems peculiar doesn’t it?
In fact, this week Congress voted to “rebuke” President Trump for not using military force to protect the PKK from Turkey. But what Congress didn’t do was actually hold a vote on an AUMF to use military force.
So what changed?
Should not the same rules apply? If Trump shouldn’t order a missile strike without an AUMF, doesn’t it stand to reason that Nancy would also expect Congress to have a role with regard to what’s going on now?
Why “rebuke” the President for not using military force that Congress has not authorized?
“How dare the President fail to do something we haven’t authorized him to do?!” is kind of a dumb rebuke if you ask me.
You can’t have it both ways, Nancy. You can’t on the one hand demand that no force be used without an AUMF from Congress while just 18 months later complain that military force is not being used despite there being no AUMF from Congress.
President Trump himself brought up that same point. If Congress wants military intervention in Northern Syria, then they should vote to authorize it.
That’s not President Trump passing the buck; that’s President Trump telling Congress to exercise one of its Constitutional powers.
So why waste time on a “rebuke” vote? Why not present a resolution for use of force, debate it and vote on it?
Of course these questions are hypothetical.
We all know why there was no vote in Congress to use military force against Turkey.
It’s the same reason there will be no vote in Congress to actually, formally begin an impeachment inquiry.
Now, Nancy might be a third-rate politician, but she’s no dummy.
She knows there is no support for dragging the US into yet another military conflict in the Middle East. The last thing she wants is for her Democrat colleagues (especially those in vulnerable districts) to have to go on record voting for military intervention in a regional skirmish between Turkey, the PKK and Syria.
Nancy was around when Congress authorized military action in Iraq. She knows just how damaging it was for Democrats who voted for the Iraq War. Do you think she wants to damage her party the same way leading into the 2020 election?
Short answer? No. She doesn’t.
And since it’s politically untenable to go on the record with an AUMF vote, you opt instead to hold a useless and symbolic vote to “rebuke” the president for not using the very military force you are too afraid to actually authorize.
Oh, and you also take to Twitter to express your dismay that the President is not using the military force you refuse to authorize.
And yet here we are. The very branch of government responsible for declaring war will do nothing but gripe on Twitter and vote to “rebuke” the President for not unilaterally authorizing military action.
President Trump is right. This is the “do-nothing” Congress.
And all their kvetching and posturing (and “Yes! Slay Queen” finger-pointing) is nothing but empty rhetoric — full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
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