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How the Women of Congress Are Responding to the Syrian Airstrikes

NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio And Sen. Elizabeth Warren Release Progressive Agenda ReportNYC Mayor Bill De Blasio And Sen. Elizabeth Warren Release Progressive Agenda Report
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).Win McNamee — Getty Images

On Thursday, President Donald Trump ordered the U.S. to fire a dozen cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase, marking the first direct assault by U.S. military forces on Syrian President Bashar Assad during the country’s six year civil war. A deadly chemical attack in northwestern Syria earlier this week prompted the decision. Though many Republicans in Congress have expressed support the airstrikes—notably Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham—some Democratic lawmakers have been less enthusiastic.

Here, a look at how the women of Congress have responded to the strikes:

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

Warren said the Assad regime should be held accountable for the airstrikes, adding, “the use of chemical weapons against Syrian men, women and children is a clear violation of international law.” But she also came out against the president’s decision to act without consulting Congress, saying, “the Constitution gives the power to authorize the use of military force to the legislative branch. Expanded military intervention in Syria requires action by Congress.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)

As Vox notes, Lee was the sole member of Congress who voted against using military force in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Following the missile attack on Thursday, Lee urged Congress to return to session and debate Trump’s choice.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

In a letter, Pelosi called on Speaker Paul Ryan to return to the House to debate the issue. “I am writing to request that you call the House back in session immediately to debate any decision to place our men and women in uniform in harm’s way,” she wrote, adding that “Bashar al-Assad ‘s chemical weapons attack on his own people places him outside the circle of civilized human behavior.”

She continued: “The President’s action and any response demands that we immediately do our duty. Congress must live up to its Constitutional responsibility to debate an Authorization of the Use of Military Force against a sovereign nation.” Read the full-letter here.

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Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY)

Like Warren, Gillibrand thinks the attacks demand a firm response, but questions President Trump’s decision to take action without consulting Congress. In a statement obtained by Fortune, she said: “Unilateral military action by the U.S. in a Middle East conflict causes grave concern, given the lack of any Authorization for Use of Military Force from Congress and the absence of any long-term plan or strategy to address any consequences from such unilateral action.” The senator also added that there’s no “military only” action—calling for the Trump administration to “bring coalition partners to the table for a long-term diplomatic solution.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)

Gabbard condemned the attack. In a statement, she wrote that she is “angered and saddened” that Trump has taken the advice of “war hawks and escalated our illegal regime change war to overthrow the Syrian government” She said the decision was short “short-sighted” and is worried it will lead to more “dead civilians, more refugees,” and strengthen “al-Qaeda and other terrorists.” She also warned that the action could lead to a “direct confrontation between the United States and Russia—which could lead to nuclear war.”

The congresswoman from Hawaii, who raised eyebrows when she revealed earlier this year that she’d met with Assad on trip to Syria, said: “If President Assad is indeed guilty of this horrible chemical attack on innocent civilians, I will be the first to call for his prosecution and execution by the International Criminal Court. However, because of our attack on Syria, this investigation may now not even be possible. And without such evidence, a successful prosecution will be much harder.”

Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.)

Fischer is one of the few GOP Congresswomen to publicly address the attacks thus far. In a statement shared on Twitter, the senator called the president’s “decisive action” necessary, continuing: “This proportional response demonstrated the United States’ moral and global leadership. For several years, I have called for a strategy from the previous administration to deal with this increasingly complicated situation. I look forward to working with the Trump administration on their plan to fully address this crisis.”

Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.)

Roby applauded Trump for his decision in a tweet Thursday evening:

Hillary Clinton, former U.S. Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee

While not a member of Congress, Clinton commented on the Syrian chemical weapon attack just hours before the airstrikes, calling for the U.S. government to “take out” Syrian government-controlled airfields. “Assad had an air force, and that air force is the cause of most of the civilian deaths, as we have seen over the years and as we saw again in the last few days,” she said, while speaking on-stage during the eighth annual Women in the World Summit on Thursday. “And I really believe that we should have and still should take out his airfields and prevent him from being able to use them to bomb innocent people and drop Sarin gas on them.”

Fortune will continue to update this list.