Rangel: ‘I Love Obama’ But Red Line on Syria Is ‘Embarrassing’

Melanie Arter | September 3, 2013 | 11:00am EDT
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Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(CNSNews.com) – Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y) on Monday called it “embarrassing” that President Barack Obama has drawn a “red line” on Syria, and the congressman does not see “anything urgent about it.”

“I love Obama, and you’ll never find a truer Democrat than me, 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. So, of course, it’s embarrassing. I wish it didn’t happen,” Rangel said.

An MSNBC host asked Rangel: “Are you concerned in terms of that red line – the president was very clear about that a year ago – are you concerned if there is not action once that line has been crossed that it will send a message to the world about the United States’ influence and their strength in the face of countries openly defying them?”

Not only was Rangel embarrassed by Obama drawing a red line, the congressman said Secretary of State John Kerry should be “even more embarrassed” after Kerry’s speech in which the secretary said the need for military intervention was “urgent.”

“I guess Secretary Kerry is even more embarrassed than me after making his emotional speech about this was urgent. And clearly, as I said earlier, I couldn’t see anything urgent about it, and I’m glad the president reviewed his thinking and he is going to give us time to discuss it,” Rangel added.

The “red line” Obama referred to is Syria’s use of chemical weapons against its own people.

In a speech Saturday, Obama said the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad was responsible for a chemical attack on its own people that claimed the lives of over 1,000 people – several hundred of them children – “young girls and boys gassed to death by their own government.”

“This attack is an assault on human dignity,” Obama said. “It also presents a serious danger to our national security. It risks making a mockery of the global prohibition on the use of chemical weapons. It endangers our friends and our partners along Syria’s borders, including Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq.

Obama also said the chemical attack in Syria could lead to the “escalating use of chemical weapons, or their proliferation to terrorist groups who would do our people harm.”

While Obama said he believes he has the authority to “carry out this military action without specific congressional authorization,” the president knows “the country will stronger” and “our actions will be even more effective” if he seeks congressional approval first.

“During those discussions, I hope that other people in the international community would come forward and take this great decision off of the Congress, because we have to make it, take it off of the Congress and provide some solution where we are not putting our kids in harm’s way to solve an international problem that we feel bounded – not by law – but because the president has drawn a red line,” Rangel said.

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