Congressional leaders baffled by Mattis asking their permission to strike Syria
WASHINGTON — Congressional leaders from both parties told reporters they were baffled recently after Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought their approval before going ahead with missile strikes against the Assad regime in Syria, sources confirmed today.
Mattis, 67, reportedly made phone calls to a number of members of Congress early last week, asking them whether they would pass a vote authorizing a military strike against a country the U.S. is not at war with, or perhaps, at a minimum, debate the merits of such action.
"Whoa whoa whoa, what does he think we do around here?" said Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). "Congress isn't supposed to be overseeing the military or telling it how to conduct wars."
"I think we have more than enough on our plate right now," said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), pausing to look over a new piece of legislation he plans to introduce marking Apr. 20 as Cherry Blossom Day in Washington. "And besides, the Pentagon has been doing an outstanding job doing whatever it wants for the past 17 years, whether it be the successes in Iraq, Afghanistan, or elsewhere."
He added: "They don't need us looking over their shoulder."
Still, Mattis did try sending an email to some members of the House Armed Services Committee expressing reservations about conducting military action without them being fully invested in the process. Unfortunately, congressional email filters are configured to not accept messages with spam terms such as "hot girls," "call now," "congressional oversight," or "war powers act," among others.
At least one senator was reportedly seen frantically running in the other direction after he noticed Mattis walking toward him last Wednesday carrying briefing papers on Syria and chemical weapons.
"Please someone open the door! Anyone! Please! Secretary Mattis is going to try to get me to do my constitutional duty overseeing the Defense Department," the unnamed senator reportedly said, banging on doors during a visit to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. "Please! Help me!"
Short of getting congressional buy-in, President Donald Trump instead told Mattis not to worry about all that boring lawyer stuff, adding that it was just "fake news" before he gave the go-ahead for the strikes to be carried out Friday.