WASHINGTON — Sen. Rob Portman, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and Rep. Mike Turner backed President Donald Trump’s decision to attack chemical weapons facilities Friday in Syria, with Portman tweeting the West must hold Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “accountable” for using “barbarous” chemical weapons against the Syrian people.
Portman, Turner, and Kasich joined most Ohio Republicans on Capitol Hill in enthusiastically approving the cruise missile attacks launched by United States, France and Great Britain. By contrast, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, offered a more restrained response, saying it was “important that our allies in Britain and France were part of this process.”
Portman tweeted the cruise missile attacks were needed to “hold Syrian President Bashar al-Assad accountable for his barbarous chemical weapons attack against his own people.” He added “we must put Syria on notice, as well” as Assad’s supporters in Iran and Russia “that this will not be tolerated.”
Kasich tweeted that “Americans should welcome President Trump’s joint action with the United Kingdom and France in punishing the Syrian regime in order to uphold the global prohibition on chemical weapons use.”
Turner, R-Dayton, said “Assad’s barbaric regime continues to violate international rule of law. The attack with our allies last night was a necessary action to deter horrific chemical weapons attacks by the Syrian government against its own people.”
Brown said the Allied missile strikes “appear to be a targeted and proportional response to the Assad regime's gruesome attacks on civilians.”
But Brown warned “we’ve learned from the past that a military strike without a diplomatic plan will leave us right back here again a year from now,” saying it was “critical” Trump construct an international effort to develop “clear objectives for ending the violence in Syria and holding Russia and Iran accountable for enabling the Assad regime.”
Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Niles, said the attacks send “another message that our nation and our allies will not stand by while international law is broken by the use of chemical weapons against innocent men, women, and children.”
“After yet another unforgivable attack by Assad against his own people, it is clear that Russia and Iran share responsibility for these crimes against humanity by continuing military support for the Assad regime,” Ryan said. “It is fitting that the President's recent comments finally seem to admit that.
Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Upper Arlington, who served in Iraq as a member of the Ohio National Guard, said “America acted with our allies and demonstrated our commitment to preventing further violence against innocent men, women, and children. As a former chemical officer in the U.S. Army, I recognize the true horror of these weapons.”
Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Cincinnati, said “the use of chemical weapons violates every norm of international diplomacy, and indeed, human decency,” adding the missile strikes will demonstrate the United States and its allies “will not tolerate these atrocities and the killing of innocents.”
In a Facebook post, Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Troy, said while he supported the attacks, he complained, “How did we have time to do all of that yet fail to even brief Congress - let alone secure Constitutional authorization?”
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dennis Kucinich, a former Democratic congressman from Cleveland, asserted Trump acted without "congressional authorization in ordering a military attack against Syria tonight. This is a clear violation of the United States Constitution . . . which makes it clear that only Congress has the power to declare war.”
As recently as last year, Kucinich met with Assad in Damascus. After returning to the United States, Kucinich said on Fox News that he was not ready to not acknowledge that ”Assad has used chemical weapons" against the Syrian people.