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Hawaii’s congressional delegation criticizes Trump after airstrikes in Syria


    From left, U.S. Reps. Colleen Hanabusa and Tulsi Gabbard, and U.S. Sens. Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz, all Hawaii Democrats, attend an April 5 Senate subcommittee hearing in Honolulu about the Jan. 13 false missile alert. The four separately criticized the Trump administration after the president announced airstrikes tonight against Syria in retaliation of a reported chemical attack against civilians this month.

Hawaii’s congressional delegation criticized the Trump administration this evening after the U.S. and its allies struck targets in Syria in response to reported chemical attacks against civilians in that country. In an address to the nation tonight, President Donald Trump announced the strikes, which he said were being done alongside French and British armed forces.

Here is what Hawaii’s all-Democratic delegation had to say:

>> U.S. Sen. Mazie K. Hirono, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement: “Bashar al-Assad has again used chemical weapons against his own people. This is another atrocity and breach of international law, and the international community must hold him accountable. While today’s action was taken in concert with France and Great Britain, the President stated that ‘we are prepared for a sustained response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents.’ I am deeply concerned by the President’s incoherent strategy in this critically important area of the world where there are layers of complexity and no easy answers. If the President is going to shift our mission in Syria, he needs to come to Congress for authorization and explain exactly what his strategy is, and how it supports U.S. national security interests and ends the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe and refugee crisis.”

>> U.S. Sen Brian Schatz, who was interviewed on the HBO show “Real Time with Bill Maher HBO” shortly after the president announced the airstrikes, said the Trump administration is “talking about a willingness to sustain this over time and if they do that there is no way this is authorized under the 2001 (Authorization for Use of Military Force.)” He said the administration would have to get a new congressional authorization for sustained military action in Syria. He added, “We all saw those images of those kids being gassed and I think it touches all of us. But the thing that the American government ought to do is what we always did, which is to take refugees in.”

>> U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who is also running for governor, said in a emailed statement: “The use of chemical weapons is a heinous violation of international law and should be dealt with by the international community. However, Syria is not within the purview of the current Authorization for Use of Military Force. I don’t believe the president had the authority to order this strike and escalate a long standing conflict without a clear plan. Under the War Powers Act, he should have come to Congress to seek authorization.”

>> U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard tweeted: “The people of Syria desperately want to live in peace & do not want their country to be taken over by genocidal terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS. If we are truly concerned about the suffering of the Syrian people & bringing about peace & stability so refugees can return home & begin to rebuild their lives, then we should work for peace, end our policy of interventionist regime change wars and stop trying to be the policeman of the world.”

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