Schumer backs Trump on Syrian strike

Apr 11, 2017

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) is standing behind President Donald Trump's missile strike of a Syrian air base last week that was believed to be used for a chemical weapons attack in which innocent Syrian citizens were killed.

In a rare moment of unity, Schumer said he supports Trump's decision - saying it sent an important message to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"When anyone says we're not going to strike him, it gives him a green light to do these horrible things," Schumer said. "Everyone saw the pictures of the babies suffocating, it was a horrible thing. And it also sends a message to the Russians -- rein in this guy."

Central and northern New York Republican Reps. Elise Stefanik, John Katko, Tom Reed and Claudia Tenney also supported the missile attack. But like Schumer, they are expressing a desire for Trump to consult Congress on any further action. And Schumer is discouraging more involvement in the Middle Eastern country because he says the nation's resources would be better spent on domestic projects.

"We can get a compromise - a bipartisan compromise - on an infrastructure bill and that would provide the dollars for I-81 for instance in Syracuse," he said. "Or a rooftop highway in the North Country."

Fellow Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is taking the opposite stance, saying Trump's unilateral action in Syria causes grave concerns and lacks a long-term strategy.

Healthcare reform

Republican lawmakers have been meeting in recent weeks to revive their efforts to replace the Affordable Care Act after a GOP bill failed to garner enough support from representatives last month. Schumer said Democrats are being left out of those conversations, which he says is ill advised. 

"You cannot pass a major bill like this - you have to pass it to make it really work best in a bipartisan way," Schumer said. "So far, there have been no discussions."