Rubio defends Trump from Syria critics

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRubio in Colombia to push for delivery of humanitarian aid to Venezuela On unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 On The Money: Trump declares emergency at border | Braces for legal fight | Move divides GOP | Trump signs border deal to avoid shutdown | Winners, losers from spending fight | US, China trade talks to resume next week MORE (R-Fla.) on Friday defended President Trump’s missile strike in Syria the night before, dismissing those who say he should have consulted with Congress first.

“We don’t have 535 commanders in chief,” Rubio said on Fox News’s “Fox & Friends." "We have one. That’s his role as commander in chief — to protect our national security interests.”

“Not only was what he did legal, it was appropriate,” the former 2016 GOP presidential candidate added. "And he acted decisively, which is one of the most important things a president has to be willing to do.”

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Rubio scolded Trump’s detractors for highlighting past tweets showing the billionaire opposed military action in Syria before his presidency.

“There’s a difference between being a real estate developer in New York and a private citizen and being the president,” he said. "When you’re the president, the weight is on your shoulders.”

The U.S. launched a missile strike in Syria late Thursday in response to a chemical attack earlier this week that officials said was carried out by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad, according to The New York Times.

Trump ordered the strike, which reportedly killed at least seven people, the day after he said his view of Assad had changed upon hearing how a deadly gas had hurt civilians in Syria.

“It is in the vital national security interests of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons,” he said Thursday at his Mar-a-Largo resort in Palm Beach, Fla.

The Pentagon said Thursday that warships launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Syrian airfield near the where the gas attack originated.

Multiple lawmakers from both major parties have since urged Trump to engage with Congress on future military actions in Syria.