Charlie Rangel: Obama's Handling of Syria 'Embarrassing'

Tuesday, 03 Sep 2013 12:13 PM

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President Barack Obama’s handling of the Syria crisis has proved “embarrassing,” Rep. Charles Rangel, a staunch Democratic supporter of Obama, told MSNBC Monday.

The president's declaration last year that the use of chemical weapons by the Damascus regime would cross a "red line" was "unheard of" the veteran New York Democrat said.

“I love Obama and you’ll never find a truer Democrat than me," Rangel said. "But this whole idea of any president of the United States drawing lines saying that if any country does something that he considers wrong, that the nation is going to war, it’s unheard of, drawing a red line,” Rangel said.

“So, of course, it’s embarrassing.”

Rangel said he was glad the president reviewed the situation and that broader discussions will occur. Obama submitted a resolution to Congress Saturday to use force in Syria, and the House will take that up the issue after returning from break Sept. 9.

On CNN, Rangel, who has served in the House for 42 years, vehemently opposed the idea of going to war with Syria when so many questions are unanswered.

“There’s absolutely no question I would vote no because there’s so many questions,” he said. “One of them is, is this a war? And if it’s not a war, if it’s a limited war, I never heard of anything in my entire life. If you’re going to fire shells and bomb a community, that’s war, and you have to have a declaration of war, and the Congress should legally, constitutionally approve it and I haven’t seen that evidence.”

In a separate MSNBC interview, Rangel expanded his views to Alex Witt, pointing out that it’s unclear how the “gross violation of international law” affects U.S. citizens. This, he said, is an international issue that should be addressed by the international community."

Rangel said Syrian President Bashar Assad didn’t strike against the U.S., but "he did it to humankind to the world."

“This idea that the president’s credibility’s on the line or the United States’ credibility on the line, merely because he said he would not stand for it, well the constitution means that Americans won’t stand for it, and that’s what the vote’s going to be about."

Despite his stated support of the current administration, it is not the first time Rangel has called Obama's actions "embarrassing." In January, he used the same word to describe the lack of racial diversity among the president's cabinet.

Rangel on MSNBC:

And Rangel on CNN

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