Rep. Matt Gaetz justified breaking ranks with Republicans and voting with Democrats on restraining President Donald Trump’s war powers.
The Florida Republican believes Trump is too smart to go to war with Iran or any nation and explained to Fox News host Tucker Carlson why he felt it was necessary to support the war powers resolution passed by the House of Representatives.
(Video: Fox News)
“I think it’s fair to say you’re one of the people in the House closest to the president. He’s completely opposed to this. You, as his close ally voted for it,” Carlson began the segment speaking to Gaetz Thursday on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” about how he is one of only three Republicans to side with Democrats in passing the resolution that limits the president’s military action against Iran.
Gaetz admitted that the president would have rather had the congressman vote along with his party, but he justified his decision based on his belief in the intent of the Constitution.
The measure, passed on a mostly party-line vote of 224-194 on Thursday, followed days of escalating tension between Iran and the United States after Trump ordered an airstrike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani in response to an “imminent attack” that was being planned against American personnel.
Iran retaliated by launching more than a dozen ballistic missiles on Iraqi airbases housing U.S. forces.
“The president told me that he’s more anti-war than I am,” the lawmaker replied, saying he had just spoken to Trump that day. “And I love the president for that, Tucker.”
Gaetz went on to say he thinks “a few of the advisers to the president” are “trying to slow-walk the administration into war.”
Explaining how Trump “relies on his instinct,” Gaetz described the “Trump doctrine” as “we kill the terrorists and we come home.”
“I think this war powers resolution was worthy of support because it did not criticize the president, it did not say he was wrong in killing Soleimani, but it did say that if any president wants to drag our nation into another forever Middle East war that they require the approval of the United States Congress,” Gaetz said.
“That’s something I deeply believe and I think it’s something the president deeply believes,” the Florida lawmaker added.
Killing Terrorist Soleimani was the right call @realDonaldTrump.
Ending the spilling of patriotic blood and American treasure in the Middle East will be even better.
I know our President wants to wind down these undeclared, unconstitutional, unfocused wars.
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) January 9, 2020
Carlson noted that it’s “pretty obvious” the Constitution would require there to be congressional approval for war, and wondered why members of Congress would not “put themselves on the record” and vote to endorse the resolution.
Gaetz found it “unfortunate” that there are lawmakers who would “depart from what the framers and founders believed would happen.”
“It’s my belief that declaring a war is a non-delegable duty of the United States Congress and it’s ludicrous for any of my colleagues to suggest that we have to not do our job so that people in uniform can do theirs,” he said.
“The president would have probably preferred that I vote with the other Republicans,” Gaetz, who joined his Florida colleague Francis Rooney and Thomas Massie of Kentucky in voting with Democrats, said.
But on the “broader issue,” he said he still believes the president “understands that the pro-war candidate loses presidential elections.”
“The president understands that,” he said. “And he’s too smart to let Nancy Pelosi try to cast him as the pro-war candidate and that’s why I don’t think we’re going to war with Iran.”
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