Fox News host Shepard Smith challenged Pentagon spokesman John Kirby over the lack of congressional authorization for the ongoing U.S. airstrikes in Iraq, overriding the rear admiral’s objections by noting the question is “not political really, it’s constitutional.”
“If we were to speak a year from now, think we’ll be out of Iraq or still in there?” Smith asked Kirby on Thursday.
The DoD official couldn’t say for sure, noting only that “we’re going to stay as committed as we need to be for as long as we need to be, and we’re going to follow the orders of the commander-in-chief.”
“Well, it’s really more than the commander-in-chief here,” Smith replied. “The Congress is supposed to be involved.”
“60 days ago the president sent his first recommendation, and under Article 8, Section 1 of the Constitution — the ‘War Powers Act’ — the president can act in a limited way on his own accord for 60 days,” the Fox host explained. “But after 60 days, the Congress must act.”
“We have kept Congress — Secretary Hagel has kept Congress completely informed –” Kirby began, before Smith cut him off.
“But that’s not what the Constitution says, with great respect admiral,” he interjected. “What is says is the Congress must ‘act,’ not be informed. Informed works for 60 days, and after 60 days they must act.”
“Look, I’m not going to speak to larger political issues,” Kirby demurred. “That’s not my lane here at the Pentagon.”
“I just wondered if you were concerned about it,” Smith persisted.
“Look, I mean — we are keeping the Congress as informed as we can be about everything we’re doing,” the rear admiral went on. “And again, I won’t turn this into a political debate.”
Smith let Kirby go, but continued to explain his line of questioning to his audience. “It’s very specific — it’s not political really, it’s constitutional,” he said.