Sen. Marco Rubio called President Donald Trump's decision to strike Syria with more than 50 Tomahawk cruise missiles Thursday "an important decisive step" to destroy President Bashar al-Assad's air forces.
"It is not a message," the Florida Republican, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told Anderson Cooper on CNN. "It is a degrading of the capability of the Syrian regime to carry out further chemical attacks against innocent civilians."
U.S. officials said about 60 missiles were fired from two Navy warships in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, targeting a government-controlled air base in Syria.
Syrian government aircraft at the base killed 86 people, including 28 children, in the chemical attack late Monday.
"I don't believe this is a message," Rubio told Cooper. "This is actually a tactical action that furthers an objective.
"That is the airfield from which the chemical attacks were launched. It's a critical point in a part of the country where they are battling rebels in the southern part of Syria.
"I think this is an important, decisive step that was taken," he said. "It is not a message.
"It is a degrading of the capability of the Syrian regime to carry out further chemical attacks against innocent civilians."
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