There have been a few outspoken members of Congress who have expressed concern regarding President Donald Trump’s decision to authorize the killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, including Sens. Bernie Sanders, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul. In addition, Reps. Justin Amash, Thomas Massie, and Matt Gaetz voted in support of a war powers resolution that would require Trump to get congressional authorization for further military action against the country. Regardless, the majority appear to be content with letting Trump do as he pleases, which Rolling Stone notes is indicative of a pattern that has continued for decades.
Speaking to Rolling Stone, former Republican and Independent Amash revealed what he sees from within Congress, suggesting that most lawmakers are content to let the president make the decisions.
“On ordinary legislative matters, most members of Congress don’t think anymore,” Amash said. “They just follow whatever they’re told by their leadership. They prefer to have the president decide these matters and then they can later say, ‘Yeah, I supported it’ or, ‘No, I opposed it’ without actually having to take a vote and go on the record.”
“I think a lot of members of Congress are used to that lifestyle and they like it. They don’t want responsibility. They want the job, not the responsibility.”
Rolling Stone notes that the problem existed during the years of Barack Obama, with most Democrats opting to allow the president to assassinate terrorist leaders by drone and engage in military action as he pleased. According to Amash, he has spoken with Democrats in competitive districts that believe a hawkish approach to issues of war and intelligence would increase their chances of reelection.
“They view that as the kind of thing that will distinguish them in their more Republican district,” he said.
He sells troops.
“We have a very good relationship with Saudi Arabia—I said, listen, you’re a very rich country. You want more troops? I’m going to send them to you, but you’ve got to pay us. They’re paying us. They’ve already deposited $1B in the bank.” pic.twitter.com/rc1f7heyCP
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) January 11, 2020
Although the Michigan Rep. claims that the U.S. system is not designed for one person to be in charge of war, he claims that this is nevertheless how the system is currently operating. According to the 39-year-old politician, the only way to rein in the president’s power is to elect a president in favor of such changes or tack reforms onto major bills that receive bipartisan support. However, Amash notes that this is not how Congress should work.
Amash left the Republican Party to become an Independent following backlash for his call for Trump’s impeachment. He announced his departure in a column for The Washington Post, which outlined his belief that the two-party system was destroying America and claimed that moneyed interests had taken over both parties. The congressman also believes that the actions of both Republican and Democratic politicians are dividing the public and stoking messaging wars that are ultimately harming the American populace.