The U.S. strike in the early hours of Friday on a Syrian air base is prompting a variety of reactions around the world.
At home, Pennsylvania leaders generally supported President Donald Trump’s move.
“The administration acted in a precise manner, sending a clear message that these atrocities will not be tolerated,” said U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Howard Township.
The missile strike came on the heels of what appeared to be a chemical attack on Syrian citizens by President Bashar Assad’s troops.
“As the investigation into these senseless actions continues, I look forward to the administration presenting Congress with a verifiable set of goals should further and prolonged actions be required,” Thompson said.
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., had a similar statement.
“Last night the United States took a decisive action sending a message to the world that barbaric, nerve gas attacks on innocent Syrians will not go unpunished,” he said. “The current conflict in Syria is a complex challenge requiring American leadership and significant global engagement.”
In a bipartisan moment, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., concurred.
“The targeted actions taken last night are an appropriate and proportionate response to a heinous attack by the Assad regime on Syrian civilians. As I have said before, Bashar al-Assad is a war criminal who has starved, barrel bombed and besieged the Syrian people for more than six years. The horrible attack this week was not the first time that he has used chemical weapons against Syrian civilians. His regime needs to be held accountable for their crimes,” Casey said in a statement.
What comes next is where the remarks are less in line.
“I look forward to the president working with Congress on next steps, including development of a comprehensive plan that details for the American people our long-term strategic objectives, the possible risks for military personnel, and national security implications,” Toomey said.
Casey, on the other hand, would like more information.
“I believe the president must outline for the American people a strategy for how this action will move us closer to a political transition in Syria while also advancing the Coalition fight against ISIS. I believe there is no purely military solution to the conflict in Syria, and I continue to oppose the large scale deployment of U.S. ground forces. In the coming days, I’ll be pressing the administration for a full strategy that addresses the ISIS fight as well as the political situation in Syria,” Casey said.
He noted the need to hold both Russia and Iran “accountable for their continued support” of Assad and pushed for Trump to “accelerate humanitarian assistance” to Syrian victims, including allowing U.S. resettlement after “appropriate vetting,” a move that would require Trump’s travel ban to be reconsidered.
He also encouraged the president to seek legislative authorization for future actions.
“I called on the Obama administration to do the same — the 2001 and 2002 (Authorizations for Use of Military Force) are outdated and don’t reflect today’s realities and threats. Members of Congress have a responsibility to debate these actions and cast a vote on an AUMF if the President plans to continue military action,” Casey said.