President Trump may be using his Twitter account to threaten airstrikes against Syria — but that doesn’t change the fact that he has no constitutional authority to order those strikes.
Unfortunately, the section of the Constitution that gives the power to declare war to Congress, and Congress alone, has become a section of the Constitution that most of our politicians — and our pundits — ignore. Debates on the issue these days are usually between only two sides — “He should” vs. “He shouldn’t” — while the important question of “Can he?” goes completely ignored. It often feels as though Article I, Section 8 has been all but forgotten, which is why I was so glad to see the recent comments from Senator Bernie Sanders.
“President Trump has no legal authority for broadening the war in Syria,” Sanders said in a statement. “It is Congress, not the president, who determines whether our country goes to war, and Congress must not abdicate that responsibility.”