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GOP rep: Trump needs to retaliate against Iran to deter other hostile nations

GOP rep: Trump needs to retaliate against Iran to deter other hostile nations
© Greg Nash

The top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee said Friday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rages against '60 Minutes' for interview with Krebs Cornyn spox: Neera Tanden has 'no chance' of being confirmed as Biden's OMB pick Pa. lawmaker was informed of positive coronavirus test while meeting with Trump: report MORE must retaliate quickly against Iran to deter other hostile nations like North Korea and Russia from taking “provocative” acts toward the U.S.

Rep. Mike RogersMichael (Mike) Dennis RogersFormer GOP congressman calls for Biden to receive presidential briefings Democrats slam DHS chief for defying subpoena for testimony on worldwide threats Remembering 9/11 as we evaluate today's emerging threats MORE (R-Ala.) said that Trump already has the authority to launch strikes against Iran for shooting down a U.S. military drone this week and does not need to seek approval from Congress.

Trump “did consult with Congress as he was trying to decide what action to take, but when you have a country like Iran shoot down an American drone in international air space, I don’t think we need to have three months of argument in the Congress to decide what needs to be done,” Rogers said during an appearance on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers.”

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“We have him as a commander in chief to make decisions like this. I don’t care if it's a Republican or Democrat; I felt the same way about Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaMullen: 'National security issues do not wait' for presidential transitions Is Trump headed to another campaign or to a courtroom? With the Chang'e 5 launch, China takes a giant leap forward in the race to the moon MORE when he was president.”

“Now if we are going to get into a long-term war, it’s a different story,” Rogers added. “But he needs to take action in a quick manner. Whether it’s sanctions or a kinetic attack, he needs to make that call, but there has to be a response."

“Otherwise you’re going to see countries like North Korea, China and Russia becoming much more provocative in their actions toward us if they know we’re going to be paralyzed and unable to respond,” Rogers said.

Trump tweeted earlier Friday that the U.S. military was “cocked and loaded” and that he gave the green light to launch strikes against Iran. But the president said he abruptly called off the attack Thursday night because he feared the loss of life would not be “proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.”

Democrats, including Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalInequality of student loan debt underscores possible Biden policy shift Biden Cabinet picks largely unify Democrats — so far Democrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks MORE (D-Wash.) and Rep. Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeDemocrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks Top contender for Biden Defense chief would be historic pick Overnight Defense: 5 US service members killed in international peacekeeping helicopter crash in Egypt | Progressives warn Biden against Defense nominee with contractor ties | Trump executive order to ban investment in Chinese military-linked companies MORE (D-Calif.), have called on Trump to request a new authorization of use of military force (AUMF) from Congress before striking back at Iran.

But House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyDemocrats were united on top issues this Congress — but will it hold? Top Republicans praise Trump's Flynn pardon Richmond says GOP 'reluctant to stand up and tell the emperor he wears no clothes' MORE (R-Calif.) and other Trump allies say the president has authority to act under the AUMF that Congress passed in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that granted presidents broad discretion to use force to combat terrorists.

McCarthy and other GOP leaders have called for a “measured” response, a point echoed by Rogers.

“There has to be some response to that provocative act, unprovoked act. But it does need to be measured, and that’s what the president is trying to decide now is whether it needs to be a kinetic strike like what was being planned or something in the way of other diplomatic approaches to put pressure on them,” Rogers said.

“I don’t know what his thinking is, but I do think he is going to make some response.”

Rogers, who also serves on the House Armed Services Committee, also lamented the imminent resignation of acting Defense Secretary Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanProgressive House Democrats urge Biden against Defense chief with contractor ties Trump fires Defense chief Mark Esper House Armed Services chairman expresses confidence in Esper amid aircraft carrier coronavirus crisis MORE.

This week, Shanahan decided to drop out of his confirmation process to permanently lead the Pentagon over domestic violence incidents involving his son, his wife and himself.

Rogers said it is “not helpful” to have acting secretaries leading the Pentagon, especially at a time when there are escalating conflicts with Iran and North Korea, and thousands of migrants are showing up on the southern border.

“I was concerned before this change that Secretary Shanahan was in an acting role. This is the largest organization on the planet; they need a confirmed secretary leading it,” Rogers said.

“I’m also very disappointed that Secretary Shanahan is resigning. He is a first-notch, top notch secretary, very competent, doing a great job, and I think it’s awful that he’s had to pull back to protect his family from what he was going through,” Rogers continued.

“We don’t need to have these acting secretaries in charge of these large organizations. It’s just not helpful at all." 

The interview with Rogers will air on C-SPAN at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET on Sunday.