Long Island's Congressional delegation reacted Wednesday to President Donald Trump's White House address following Iran's launch of a retaliatory missile strike against American troops in Iraq. In the speech, Trump said the United States would respond first with economic sanctions, not military force, as he looked to de-escalate tensions with Tehran.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York)
"The president has promised to get the United States out of these forever wars in the Middle East, but the arrow is headed in the wrong direction. Now more than ever, the United States must be clearheaded and sure-footed about what comes next. The American people do not want a war with Iran, and the president does not have the authority to wage one. How many more troops is it going to be? How long will they remain abroad? What is their objective? …These are urgent questions. The administration must answer them."
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York):
“I am greatly relieved that Iran’s retaliatory missile strikes did not result in casualties to U.S. service members caught in the middle of these hostilities. My thoughts are with U.S. troops and diplomats in the region and their families. This crisis was unnecessary and avoidable. Without seeking congressional authorization or presenting a clear strategy, President Trump brought us to the brink of war with Iran. Furthermore, President Trump’s actions have severely damaged our relationship with Iraq, which has called for expelling U.S. troops, an action that would create chaos and enable ISIS to regain power. Make no mistake — President Trump has made us less safe."
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley):
“Iran is being held accountable for its reign of terror. Qassim Soleimani killed over 600 American troops and wounded thousands of others. Iran has the option to pursue a better direction for its own nation and the future of its people. They can choose stability, peace, prosperity and freedom or continued uncertainty, weakness, poverty, and conflict. However Iran decides to proceed, the United States stands ready to protect our troops, the American people and our nation with even, measured resolve.”
Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford):
"I thought it was right on target, it showed the right balance. One, it was pretty obvious that the Iranian retaliation or response was ineffective, so that justified the President saying we would take no further military action. However, certainly Iran can no longer be trusted, and they are certainly a lethal country. So that's why it is important we keep the sanctions on, and actually, he's going to increase the sanctions. I support him on both counts."
Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-Glen Cove):
“Iran’s missile strikes against military bases that house American and our allies’ troops is yet another nefarious act by our adversary. I will continue to monitor the ongoing situation, collect and digest intelligence, and call on the Administration to exercise restraint, use diplomacy when possible, and share additional new intelligence and strategic developments with the designated members of the House and Senate.”
Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City):
“I watched the President’s speech and I hope tensions with Iran will de-escalate following last night’s attacks. Following today’s classified briefing, it is imperative for the Administration to work with Congress to establish a clear, defined strategy to stop further violence.”
Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-St. Albans):
"After attending the classified briefing on the strike against Suleimani, I remain unconvinced that there was any imminent threat to justify this administration’s reckless operation. Though I am relieved Trump announced no further military operations after Iran’s retaliation, we are less safe today than we were before Trump’s provocations. The danger posed to our national security traces back to Trump’s decision to withdraw from the nuclear agreement, which predictably led to all of the escalations we’ve seen since. Suleimani was an enemy to the United States, but terminating him has put us on a path to a war that I hope Trump will commit to avoiding.”