Sen. Kaine slams strikes against Syria, says it’s start of war

Sen. Tim Kaine discusses President Trump's airstrikes against Syria

WASHINGTON — Sen. Tim Kaine came out swinging Friday morning against President Donald Trump, hours after a late-night order from Trump initiated missile strikes against a Syrian air base after a fatal chemical attack on Syrian civilians.

“You cannot, as president, start a war without a vote of Congress, and that’s what this is,” Kaine, D-Va., told WTOP.

His comments to WTOP follow a Thursday statement in which he called the airstrikes “unlawful.”

“I have been calling for the U.S. to be more assertive against the atrocities of [Syrian President] Bashar Assad since 2013. I voted to use military action against Syria in 2013 because they did exactly this: Use chemical weapons against civilians,” Kaine said.

The 2013 Syrian chemical attack killed 26. A U.N. investigation was unable to determine who was responsible.

“But, at that time, Donald Trump as a private citizen had it right,” Kaine told WTOP. “He said, ‘President Obama, you’ve got to get congressional approval if you’re going to start a military action against Syria.’ And the same principle holds today.”

Tuesday’s deadly chemical attack killed more than 80 people and wounded dozens more.

President Trump’s own views on Syria and the decision to take military action have evolved since more information, including widely-circulated images of dead children, about the attack came to light.

Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s running mate in her failed bid for the White House, was firm in his stance.

“The president should have come to Congress before doing this, and he needs to come to Congress now to lay out his strategy for how we’re going to deal with Syria — especially given the fact that there are so many U.S. troops now on the ground there,” Kaine said.

Listen to Kaine’s full exchange with WTOP’s Mike Moss and Joan Jones below:

Sen. Tim Kaine discusses President Trump's airstrikes against Syria
Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Writer/Editor for He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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