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New York congressional lawmakers, save one, backs Syria airstrikes

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, in a tweet, says the president “has no legal basis for this strike.” Though they support the move, other members question the Trump administration’s future strategy for Assad’s nation.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) speaks during a

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) speaks during a news conference December 6, 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Alex Wong

One member of New York’s congressional delegation slammed the airstrikes against Syria ordered by President Donald Trump, saying he had no legal basis for the attack.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat, in a tweet Saturday said she did not support the attack, which other Island delegation members backed.

“Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his own people was evil. However, President Trump has no legal basis for this strike. He does not have an authorization for the use of military force against Syria by Congress. With no discussion of strategy and consequences, which could be significant, I do not support this decision.”

She was not immediately available Saturday, a spokesman said, referring to her tweet as comment.

The United States, in coordination with Britain and France, launched multiple airstrikes at three of the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons facilities Friday as punishment for alleged chemical attacks that killed more than 40 people.

Other members of the state’s delegation said Saturday they supported the strikes, but most questioned the strategy for Syria.

“A pinpointed, limited action to punish and hopefully deter President Assad from doing this again is appropriate,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. “But the administration has to be careful about not getting us into a greater and more involved war in Syria.”

Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) applauded the message of power sent by a U.S., French and British coalition.

“If there’s any evidence of further use of chemical weapons, there should be further attacks and much more severe,” King said.

Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) said Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his own people was “reprehensible.”

“I support the administration’s decision to work with our allies in the region and send a clear message that this will not be tolerated,” Suozzi said in a text. “We really need the entire civilized world to stand up to the barbaric use of chemical weapons.”

Regarding future attacks, a strategy is needed, Suozzi said.

“The president would be wise to lay out a comprehensive plan and seek both bipartisan and international support to chart the course forward in Syria before we are confronted with another hostile action from Syria or worse Russia.”

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) said the attacks appeared to have been done “correctly, appropriately and proportionally.”

As for future U.S.-led attacks, any action would have to be well researched, highly targeted, and with minimum civilian casualties, he said.

“Going forward, it’s very important for Arab nations in that region to take more of leadership role in pushing back on Iranian aggression and the bad behavior of the Assad regime,” Zeldin said.

Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) said it had been a year since the United States bombed Syria for similar offenses and Congress still didn’t know what the administration wanted to achieve in Syria.

“I hope these strikes are part of a broader strategy to prevent and deter Assad from continuing to use chemical weapons, and I hope that they prove to be effective,” she said in an email. “But we need to know what that strategy is.”

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