The U.S. Congress now has more minorities and women serving in it than at any point in its past, arguably thanks to a divisive, racist and sexist president. This month, those women took a stand against the U.S. war machine.
On Jan. 3, President Donald Trump arbitrarily assassinated the appointed official of a legitimate foreign government with a drone strike that left Iran Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani’s cavalcade in pieces. When the president took his reasons for the assassination to the U.S. Congress after the fact, many congressional members were not impressed with the president’s garbled arguments. According to CNN, even Republican amen-corner-crewmen Sens. Mike Lee (R- Utah) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) called it the “worst briefing I’ve had on a military issue,” and “an insult to the Constitution,” respectably.
The House immediately moved to prevent Trump from taking any new military action against Iran and that movement was largely driven by members who were female and/or minorities.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) introduced the amendment to reinforce Congress’ Constitutionally-allotted power to declare acts of war, as opposed to the president’s. Representatives such as Massachusetts Democrat Ayanna Pressley championed the 224-to-194 vote, which came the very day after the administration’s drunken, rambling, public reasoning. Pressley sided with Pelosi then took to Twitter to destroy the president.
“For nearly 2 decades, endless wars have claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians & service members alike. Let me be clear, we cannot allow our country to be lied into another war. We have the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of our past. #NoWarWithlran,” Pressley tweeted, while making a reference, perhaps, to the multi-decade disaster of the Iraq War that President George W. Bush duped Americans into initiating over the lie of weapons of mass destruction.
Pressley then blatantly accused the president of initiating the assassination to help himself politically.
“The Occupant was JUST impeached for abuse of power for political gain & now he is leading us to the brink of war because he believes it will help his re-election. We are sick of endless wars. Congress has the sole authority to declare war and we must deescalate. #NoWarWithIran,” she wrote.
The Wall Street Journal backed up Pressley’s accusation of Trump’s political opportunism by claiming in a Jan. 9 article that acquaintances said “Mr. Trump, after the strike, told associates he was under pressure to deal with Gen. Soleimani from GOP senators he views as important supporters in his coming impeachment trial in the Senate.”
Freshman minority U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, (D-New Mexico), also voted for the War Powers Resolution to limit the president’s military action on Iran. Haaland became one of the first Native American women to serve in Congress after the 2018 electoral sweep that put a record number of women and minorities in the House. Haaland immediately pounced the president after her vote.
“The Trump Administration has shown the American people that they are willing to take us to the brink of war and put our troops, diplomats, and Americans abroad in harm’s way,” Haaland stated. “This War Powers Resolution reflects the constitutional power of Congress to prevent dangerous escalations into another endless war.”
Newly elected House women and minorities who expressed their leeriness of the president are in accord with many Americans, according to polls. One USA Today/Ipsos poll makes clear that Americans are untrusting of Trump’s decision to assassinate Soleimani, with a majority of Americans believing the president made the U.S. less safe by a 2-1 margin (55%-24%). Another clear majority (52%-34%) called Trump’s action “reckless.”
Despite nationwide suspicion, House Republicans largely supported defying the Constitution and surrendering war powers to what appears to be a Chief of . The Act passed by Pressley, Pelosi and the House will likely meet more opposition in the Republican-dominated Senate, although there is some suspicion that a similar bill to limit the president’s war powers could actually survive.
Democrats are in the minority in the Senate but that minority is slim. They will only need the help of four Republicans to pass a war powers resolution. Sens. Paul and Lee appear to be onboard with a bill. That brings the requirement down to two, if Paul and Lee stick to their guns—one of the reasons South Carolina Republican Senator and Trump bootlick Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is so angry at the two white men.
Graham went so far as to characterize Lee and Paul as enemies of America for defending Congress’ power.
“I’m going to let people know that at this moment in time to play this game with the War Powers Act … whether you mean to or not, you’re empowering the enemy,” Graham told reporters.
Paul clapped back, saying Graham doesn’t even understand the Constitution.
“He insults the Constitution, our Founding Fathers and what we do stand for in this republic by making light of it and accusing people of lacking patriotism. I think that’s a low, gutter type of response,” Paul said.
The fight would not have even made it to the Senate, however, if elections didn’t have consequences, and these recent consequences came of voters getting out and approving a more diverse electorate in the last two elections. Thanks to voters stepping up to the plate and hustling out to polls, the battle lines are now sitting between the Constitution and a dangerous, deranged tyrant.
Your vote matters more than ever. See you at the polls in November.