Back in 2013, Republicans demanded then-President Obama get approval to launch strikes in Syria. Now, they are mad that House Democrats want Trump to do the same.
The House last week voted to rein in Donald Trump's military powers, demanding he seek congressional approval for military strikes and operations such as the one in Iraq that killed top Iranian Gen. Qassam Soleimani.
Republicans almost unilaterally voted against the war powers resolution, which "requires the President to consult with Congress 'in every possible instance' before introducing United States Armed Forces into hostilities." GOP lawmakers accused Democrats of playing politics with military actions.
However, many of those lawmakers had a different position when former President Barack Obama was in office.
Back in 2013, at least 98 GOP lawmakers signed a letter demanding that Obama go to Congress and get approval before launching strikes in Syria.
Many of those Republican lawmakers have since retired, lost reelection, or ascended to other political office. However, some 30 of those lawmakers remain in Congress, and have a totally different view of presidential war powers now that Trump occupies the Oval Office.
For example, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), signed the 2013 letter, which stated:
While the Founders wisely gave the Office of the President the authority to act in emergencies, they foresaw the need to ensure public debate – and the active engagement of Congress – prior to committing U.S. military assets. Engaging our military in Syria when no direct threat to the United States exists and without prior congressional authorization would violate the separation of powers that is clearly delineated in the Constitution.
However Meadows condemned Democrats for passing the war powers resolution that included nearly that identical demand.
"Something amazing is happening on the House floor today. Remember, President Trump just eliminated a world-renowned terrorist responsible for killing 600+ Americans - including an attack on our embassy just a week ago. And what does your House Democrat majority do today, in Congress?Act outraged, give speeches criticizing him for doing it, and pass a hypocrisy-laden resolution on war powers," Meadows wrote in a Facebook post. "It's just amazing."
Meadows isn't the only Republican who signed the 2013 letter demanding Obama get approval for the Syrian strikes made similar comments for why they voted against the war powers resolution last week.
Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY), who signed the 2013 letter, had this to say when he voted against the war powers resolution last week.
"This afternoon, I voted against Speaker Pelosi’s War Powers Resolution that would undermine President Trump’s authority to protect American troops in the Middle East," Guthrie said in a statement. "This resolution fully ignores President Trump’s clear ongoing efforts to avoid war and bring Iran to the negotiating table, and it would further prevent President Trump from keeping our troops safe."
Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), who signed the 2013 letter demanding Obama get congressional approval for military actions, said that requiring Trump to get approval for military actions is wrong.
"This resolution ties our Commander-in-Chief’s hands and threatens the safety and security of our service members," Mullin wrote in a Facebook post, a complete reversal to his position when Obama was president. "Just because Pelosi Democrats don’t like our president, it doesn’t mean they can undermine his constitutional authority to defend our count."
Ultimately, just three Republicans and one Republican-turned-independent (Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan) voted for the war powers resolution to rein in Trump's military powers.
And one of those members — top Trump-defender Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) — is now out of Trump's good graces for voting for the resolution and suffered the White House calling his vote "unwise."
The list of members of Congress who voted against a war powers resolution to rein in Trump but who demanded Obama get approval from Congress for strikes in Syria is below:
Reps. Doug Collins of Georgia, Steven Palazzo of Mississippi, Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma, Austin Scott of Georgia, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Tim Walberg of Michigan, Ted Yoho of Florida, Michael Burgess of Texas, Daniel Webster of Florida, Michael McCaul of Texas, Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, Mark Amodei of Nevada, Doug LaMalfa of California, Roger Williams of Texas, Brett Guthrie of Kentucky, Robert Wittman of Virginia, David Schweikert of Arizona, Scott Tipton of Colorado, Mark Meadows of North Carolina, Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, Jason Smith of Missouri, Chuck Fleischmann of Tennessee, Bill Flores of Texas, Billy Long of Missouri, David McKinley of West Virginia, Bill Posey of Florida, Tom Cole of Oklahoma, Joe Wilson of South Carolina, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Tom McClintock of California, and Tom Rooney of Florida.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.