Rep. Gabbard: Strike On Syria Will Help Al-Qaida And Other Terrorists

(Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
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Hawaii Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard came out against the Trump administration’s military strike on Syria Thursday, saying that it will strengthen terrorists in the region.

“It angers and saddens me that President Trump has taken the advice of war hawks and escalated our illegal regime change war to overthrow the Syrian government,” Gabbard said in a statement. “This escalation is short-sighted and will lead to more dead civilians, more refugees, the strengthening of al-Qaida and other terrorists, and a possible nuclear war between the United States and Russia.”

Gabbard met with Trump after his election, and said in a December appearance on CNN that she was glad that Trump was “talking about ending our country’s interventionist regime change policies.” Prior to taking office, President Trump attacked the notion that the U.S. should back Syrian rebels and support regime change.

The Hawaii congresswoman visited Syria and met with President Bashar al-Assad in January. Gabbard has said that the U.S., Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar are supporting jihadist groups in Syria, and that regime change wouldn’t be positive as “there is no difference between ‘moderate’ rebels and al-Qaeda (al-Nusra) or ISIS — they are all the same.”

Trump’s decision to attack Syria through the use of dozens of Tomahawk missiles was applauded by several politicians who had previously come out against him, such as Sen. John McCain and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. The strike on Syria came after a chemical weapon attack that the U.S. government blamed on the Assad regime.

Gabbard said that the Trump administration “acted recklessly without care or consideration” by attacking Syria “without waiting for the collection of evidence from the scene of the chemical poisoning.”

“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,” Gabbard said.