Dem Sen. Kaine: Congress ‘Taking Back from the White House the Power to Declare War Is Absolutely Critical’

Tuesday during an appearance on CNN’s “New Day,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), the 2016 Democratic vice-presidential nominee, criticized President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Northern Syria on several levels. However, he did say there was one action Congress should consider when it comes to war powers.

“First, let’s talk about just in the last couple of weeks what’s happened with ISIS,” Kaine said. “All of the U.S. advice to President Trump is if you pull these troops out, ISIS is going to reconstitute. So what threat do we have there? Second, what message does it send when the U.S. pulls our troops away from people who have fought side-by-side with our troops on the battlefield? You see the deep disappointment in the Kurds feeling like we’ve abandoned them.”

“And for President Trump to say actually, you know what, we’re not going to pull our troops completely out of Syria — we’ll protect oil fields, but we won’t protect the Kurds who fought side-by-side with our troops — that’s deeply disturbing. And then the last question, which is the big one is if you abandon the Kurds now, what ally is going to trust the United States in the future when we need to battle terrorism, when we need to battle threats?” he continued. “Who’s going to be our ally if they think we’re going to walk away from them?”

Kaine remarked on how the image was also bad for U.S. troops. However, he later acknowledged it is Congress that should be responsible for declaring war in this circumstance and said the authorization from 2001 was not sufficient.

“I introduced — actually, I think it was in September or October of 2014, a specific anti-ISIS authorization for military force in Syria,” Kaine said. “I recognize that we need to battle ISIS and make sure they’re defeated. But I don’t think the vote that Congress cast in September of 2001 really covers the wide engagements the U.S. has all over the world. So I do think Congress owning — taking back from the White House the power to declare war is absolutely critical.”

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor

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