Kansas City leaders seemed unified Friday in supporting President Donald Trump’s decision to fire 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian air base in response to that government’s deadly chemical weapons attack this week.
Fariz Turkmani, a Syrian who emigrated to Kansas City in 1979, said he was happy about Trump’s move, especially since he hit the air base and not areas where civilians live.
“To me, it’s more like a lesson to the Syrian regime, and Russia at the same time, that we are not going to stand by watching you massacre innocent people,” Turkmani says.
Turkmani, who voted for Hillary Clinton for president, said he is organizing a celebration on Sunday for 30 Syrian refugee families who arrived in Kansas City a year ago. He say he hopes Trump’s actions this week will soften his anti-refugee stance.
“I’m hoping that he will have a chance of heart about the Syrian refugees that are trying to come over here,” Turkmani says.
Most federal lawmakers also appeared to support Trump’s action.
“I’m supportive of these strikes - against a source of barbaric chemical weapons attacks on civilians,” says U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat and a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“I just hope it wasn’t an impulsive reaction, but rather part of a broader plan and strategy,” she says.
U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, says the action was a wake-up call to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and other U.S. adversaries. Trump has made allies in the Middle East and Asia, Roberts says, which are the foundation for a new era of American foreign policy.
“After eight years of passive policies, last night’s action is a strong signal to these allies that America will take decisive action against bad actors," Roberts says.
Kansas City's U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Missouri, said he supported Trump's action. Cleaver says the lesson he hoped the U.S. learned from 15 years spent in Afghanistan is that the U.S. should not be lured into "endless sectarian squabbles, rather, we must by example, charm them into our unique brand of democracy.”
“While I wish that U.S. military involvement in Syria could have been avoided, the President had to respond to the barbarity of Bashar al-Assad," Cleaver says. "This matter is too serious for the new American religion of politicization."
U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, said Trump's decision was the right response to the chemical attack and that he was grateful to the military men and women who executed the strike.
"I believe the president’s action sends a strong signal to Russia, a strong signal to Iran, and a strong signal to North Korea," Blunt says. "And, I hope his action instills confidence in our partners, friends, and allies throughout the Middle East who have lost faith in our ability to lead globally and respond decisively.”
Republican congressional representatives from Kansas also supported Trump’s “decisive” action.
“This decisive action shows that America will no longer stand on the sideline as innocent men, women, & babies are brutally killed in Syria,” U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins said in a Tweet sent Thursday night.
U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall, just elected to Kansas’ Big First District in November, issued a statement saying he applauded Trump’s action.
"I welcome this show of American strength and values,” Marshall said. “This sends a clear message to Syrian and Russian officials that we will not stand idly by in the face of these horrific atrocities."
U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kansas, supported Trump but reminded him to include others in his decision-making.
"As we move forward, it is incumbent upon the President to clearly communicate our policy in Syria to the American people and work with Congress in authorizing force for any broader action," Yoder says.