Sen. Mitch McConnell on the Syrian conflict

Published: Apr. 10, 2017 at 6:11 PM CDT
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Last week, President Trump initiated a missile strike on a Syrian airfield after the Syrian government attacked civilians with chemical weapons. The president did not seek Congressional approval for the strike, something Senate Majority Leader, Kentucky's Mitch McConnell agrees with:

"It doesn't require Congressional approval to do what he did; he has the authority to do it. I was a targeted strike against an airfield and facility that are used to deploy chemical weapons."

"The world understands you don't use chemical weapons, you just don't do it. Somebody needed to send them a message, the U.S. has the capability to do it."

Kentucky's Junior Senator Rand Paul disagrees. He told our Gray Washington D.C. Bureau he thought not asking Congress was unconstitutional and illegal. McConnell disagrees with that.

"I don't think it was either unconstitutional or illegal. I think the president was fully within his authority to do what he did and I'm glad he did it."

Now the questions is: What's the next step and should the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad be removed? McConnell says it's going to be a long, complicated road:

"I think that no Syrian government with Assad in charge can solve the problems that we have, so I think that whatever the final solution is, it cannot and must not include Assad."

Sen. McConnell says the strike was a message not to use chemical weapons, but it won't solve the Syrian conflict

"It does send an important message to the Iranians, the North Koreans, and the Russians that the Trump administration is going to have a more assertive, more leadership oriented foreign policy than the previous administration did."

Sen. McConnell says he doesn't have any evidence that the Russians were complicit in the chemical weapons attack, but he says they didn't tell the U.S. the truth when they said they had removed the chemical weapons from Syria.