Speaking on the Senate floor Tuesday, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell ended days of speculation and came out in opposition to President Obama’s request for military strikes against Syria.
McConnell said he is not an isolationist and argued the U.S. has a role on the world stage that cannot be ignored, but the GOP slammed the president’s foreign policy strategy overall.
He says Obama has been a “reluctant commander-in-chief” and that the administration hasn’t made a compelling case for intervention.
“So I will be voting against this resolution. A vital national security risk is clearly not at play, there are just too many unanswered questions about our long-term strategy in Syria, including the fact that this proposal is utterly detached from a wider strategy to end the civil war there, and on the specific question of deterring the use of chemical weapons, the president’s proposal appears to be based on a contradiction,” he says.
The announcement comes after the rest Kentucky’s federal delegation voiced their views on the Obama administration’s request to strike the Assad regime.
All of the other congressional leaders in the House and Senate support of the president’s plan and said as much last week, including Republican Speaker John Boehner. But observers point out McConnell had much more to calculate than Boehner, including Republican primary opponent Matt Bevin, who jumped out early with his objections to military action.
“Congratulations to Sen. McConnell for finally coming off the sidelines and reaching a decision on Syria after Matt Bevin, other congressional leaders and a majority of the public made up their minds against an attack,” Bevin campaign spokeswoman Sarah Durand said in a news release. “Once it looked increasingly clear that the strikes will not happen, Sen. McConnell read the tea leaves. Perhaps we should call him Follower McConnell instead of Leader McConnell.”