Sens. Corker, Cardin: Trump Has No Long-Term Syria Plan

‘They took an appropriate reaction based on what they saw,’ Corker says

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, left, and ranking Democrat Benjamin L. Cardin want to know the White House’s Syria strategy on what comes next. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House has no long-term plans to deal with the situation in Syria beyond the air strike President Donald Trump ordered Thursday evening, according to the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Just hours after Trump greenlighted the firing of 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian air base in response to the Syrian government’s chemical weapons attack, senators from both parties told reporters that they support the strike but want to know the White House’s strategy on what comes next.

But Sens. Bob Corker and Benjamin L. Cardin doubt lawmakers will hear about such a detailed plan when U.S. military and perhaps administration officials brief them Friday afternoon.

“At present, I think they took an appropriate reaction based on what they saw,” said Corker, a Tennessee Republican.

“I don’t think there are longer-term plans,” he said. “I know there are other levels that we can go to easily. These things have been on the shelf for years. Again, I don’t get any step that the next step is there.”

Corker also told reporters there are “no additional strikes planned.”

[Analysis: Syria Strike Puts Trump’s Still-Young Presidency at Risk]

He said that appraisal was based on a conversation he had with Trump on Thursday night and other talks he has had with administration officials. He said he had a “long” conversation with Trump in which the president explained how he altered his thinking and decided to strike after better understanding the situation in Syria.

A White House National Security Council spokesman had not responded to a request for comment by time of publication.

Minutes later, Cardin echoed Corker’s assessment.

“I have not seen any indication that they do,” the Maryland Democrat said when asked if the White House has a long-term Syria strategy. Like Corker, he said White House officials described the strike as as a “one-time” operation.

“What I’ve asked for [is] give us your Syrian strategy and come to us if you’re using force ’cause you have to get authorization,” Cardin said. “They haven’t done either.”

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.