Independent Justin Amash has been highly critical of Donald Trump‘s foreign policy and increasingly vocal about his concerns after his decision to leave the Republican Party. The Michigan congressman recently expressed his belief that Trump is not authorized to go to war with Iran following the president’s authorization of the assassination of Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani, and he recently doubled down on his beliefs in a lengthy Twitter thread on the situation.
“Successive presidents and Congresses have conspired to rob the American people of the Constitution’s guarantee that they be heard in the decision to send the nation to war,” Amash began the thread, likely referring to the many presidents that have ignored Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, which grants Congress the authorization to declare war.
Amash noted that it is the duty of Congress — not the president — to represent the American people in national debates.
“The president’s job is to execute the law after Congress has debated and written it,” he continued.
Amash noted that members of Congress live in the communities they are elected to represent and regularly receive feedback from their constituents, whom they are “accountable to” for their decisions in national debates. The 39-year-old congressman said that the Founding Fathers gave Congress the authority to declare war and acts of war against foreign powers to ensure that the American people have a say in the debate that leads to such decisions.
“When a president engages in war without congressional authorization and Congress does nothing to stop him, the two branches cut the American people out of the process, in violation of our Constitution’s design. This undermines both the liberty and the safety of the people.”
This Constitution of the United States of America will serve as notification to the president that should he order nondefensive strikes without congressional approval, he will be in violation of the law. Such legal notice was provided in 1789 but is given here again nevertheless. pic.twitter.com/ZzTDRbuDqf
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) January 6, 2020
Meanwhile, tensions between the U.S. and Iraq have been escalating following Soleimani’s death. Iran has threatened retribution, and Trump subsequently threatened to attack Iranian cultural sites, which some claimed would amount to war crimes. Although the U.S.-led military coalition in Iraq was reported to be planning to remove some troops from the region, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said soon after that the country has “no plans” to leave the country, per Al Jazeera.
Amash was previously critical of Trump’s decision to remove troops from Syria, which some took as a sign that the U.S. would be leaving the region. The libertarian-leaning Independent noted reports that the troop removal was not intended to end military involvement in Syria, mirroring the current conflicting reports of the U.S.’s alleged military withdrawal from Iraq.