Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) was one of three Republicans defectors who voted in favor of the War Powers resolution on Thursday. The non-binding resolution was billed by Democrats as a rebuke to President Trump for ordering the airstrike that killed Iranian terrorist Qasem Soleimani. Rep. Gaetz maintained his support of the president's decision to take out Qasem Soleimani, but argued that Congress should have the ability under "the Constitution to speak to these matters of wars and peace."
"I take a backseat to no member of this body when it comes to defending the president," Gaetz began. "This resolution offers no criticism of the president. No critique. It doesn't criticize the president's attack on Soleimani. Matter of fact, this resolution doesn't even say Soleimani's name in it. Yet it does articulate our very robust basis for self-defense, at times even preemptory self defense to defend our troops, and it also articulates our non-delegable duty as members of the United States Congress to speak to matters of war and peace."
Gaetz went on to say that he represents more troops than any other member of the legislative body, and said he was opposed to "another forever war in the Middle East."
"If the members of our armed services have the courage to go and fight and die in these wars," Gaetz argued, "as Congress, we ought to have the courage to vote for them or against them. And I think it's ludicrous to suggest that we are impairing the troops from doing their job by not doing our job articulated in the Constitution to speak to these matters of war and peace. I support the president. Killing Soleimani was the right decision, but engaging in another forever war in the Middle East would be the wrong decision and that's why I'm voting for this resolution."
I represent more troops than any other member of this body. I buried one of them earlier today at Arlington.— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) January 9, 2020
If our servicemembers have the courage to fight and die in these wars, Congress ought to have the courage to vote for or against them.
I’m voting for this resolution. pic.twitter.com/cSCBG7CmIm
Rep. Gaetz appeared on Tucker Carlson Thursday night and said he spoke to the president earlier in the day. According to Gaetz, the president said he was more opposed to war than even the Florida representative. Gaetz said that while he trusted Trump's political instincts, he feared some of Trump's advisors were trying to slow walk the administration into war.
I spoke to @POTUS today and he told me he’s more anti-war than I am.— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) January 10, 2020
This resolution did not criticize the president. It said if any president wants to drag our nation into war Congress must approve it.
That’s something I believe and something I think @POTUS deeply believes. pic.twitter.com/pScotpCtO2
Reps. Francis Rooney of Florida and Thomas Massie of Kentucky were the two other Republican representatives to join Rep. Gaetz in voting for the resolution.