Reaction was mixed among South Florida lawmakers in Washington to President Donald Trump's decision to initiate a military strike against Syria.
"Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched," Trump said Thursday evening from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, where he was hosting Chinese President Xi Jinping for a dinner and private meetings. "It is in (the) vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons. There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and ignored the urging of the U.N. Security Council."
U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., took to Twitter shortly after the strike, condemning Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for a chemical attack in his country that claimed the lives of innocent civilians.
"No world leader can get away with gassing innocent children to death," Curbelo said. "This was long overdue."
Curbelo said Trump "made the right call."
U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., whose district includes much of southwest Miami-Dade County, applauded Trump for taking action and criticized former President Barack Obama for his inaction.
"The Assad regime has terrorized the Syrian people, and unlike the previous administration, President Trump will not tolerate Assad's egregious actions," Diaz-Balart said in a statement. "I applaud President Trump for his stance against those who would use these horrifying weapons."
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., was supportive of the military strike.
"It was the right move," Rubio said.
The former Republican presidential candidate, who was critical of Trump during the 2016 primary campaign, said the strike was not just symbolic.
"He specifically targeted and degraded, significantly degraded, a key military installation which has been used in the past, and I believe would have been used in the future, for chemical attacks," Rubio said.
Trump didn't just find favor among Republicans. Rubio's Democratic counterpart said he also supported the strike.
"I hope this teaches President Assad not to use chemical weapons again," U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said in a statement.
U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., said the strike was "a measured and appropriate response to the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons against innocent men, women and children." However, she expressed concern about Trump's next move.
"Although the missile attack was warranted, I have serious concerns about the Trump administration's irresponsible statements earlier in the week, which may have emboldened Assad, and an overall erratic policy that indicates there is no longer-term strategy in place here," the former Democratic National Committee chair said in a statement.
Wasserman Schultz said Trump "must obtain an authorization for the use of such force from Congress" if he seeks any further action against Syria.
"He also must present Congress with a clear and comprehensive strategy to end Assad's dictatorship," she said.
U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., said the strike was a "bold but necessary response to the use of chemical weapons" by the Assad regime.
"It was, however, just a first step toward addressing the civil war in Syria and the Assad regime, so President Trump will need to follow up the airstrikes with a cohesive plan of action that clearly defines strategies and goals for both Syria and the region," she said.
Wilson, who represents portions of Miami-Dade and Broward counties, said her constituents are "war weary."
U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., didn't directly address whether she supported the strike against Syria, but she said it "must be followed by a long-term, comprehensive strategy aimed at protecting innocent civilians."
"The president should work with our allies, consult with Congress and adopt a humane policy towards refugees fleeing the unspeakable violence," Frankel, a former mayor of West Palm Beach, said in a statement.
U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., was equally evasive about the strike, but he didn't shy away from Trump.
"It is a sad state of affairs for this nation that Congress has continued to sit idly by while the executive branch further engages our military in conflicts overseas without congressional authorization," Hastings said in a statement.
My statement on the U.S. Airstrikes in Syria: https://t.co/zvGAOmnU1T— Alcee L. Hastings (@RepHastingsFL) April 7, 2017
Hastings said decisions made without congressional consent "does our entire nation a disservice."
"For too long, Congress has not had the opportunity to weigh in on decisions to commit American troops to conflicts abroad," he said. "This cannot continue."
Hastings called on House Speaker Paul Ryan to resume session "without delay" to address the Syria situation.
U.S. Rep. Illeana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., spoke to Local 10 News about Trump's next move from her home in Pinecrest.
"If he says tomorrow, 'And we're going to remove Assad from power,' he needs to come to Congress and get authorization for that action, because that involves upsetting the world order big time," Ros-Lehtinen said.
Assad called the U.S. strike an "unjust and arrogant aggression" against Syria.
This BBSNews article originally appeared on News | WPLG.