Speaking to Radio Sputnik's Fault Lines, Alan Grayson, a former congressman from Florida, stated plainly that there's no doubt that Trump needed the green light from Congress.
"It did," Grayson told show hosts Garland Nixon and Lee Stranahan when asked about the US requiring Congress' input before opting to fire missiles. "The way that the US Constitution structures the relationship between Congress and the president in this regard is, as everyone knows: the president is named the commander-in-chief and that the Congress is the entity that declares war and regulates the armed forces."
"What that means is that the military isn't some kind of Duplo set that the president can do whatever he wants with and build whatever he wants with," he added.
Noting that the War Powers Act also helps check the president's power when it comes to military action, Grayson stressed that Trump failed to meet any of the three criteria that would've allowed him to legally strike Syria: Congress did not declare war, it did not pass a statute that justifies doing so, and neither the US nor US forces were under attack.
"Whatever you may say about the humanitarian needs that protect innocent civilians in Syria, those were Syrian civilians, so they don't fall into the third justification… for military action, Grayson told Stranahan. "Whether you think it's good, bad or indifferent to defend those civilian victims, it simply doesn't qualify as an attack against the US… either a statute or declaration was needed."
"The president is not a boy with a toy, he can't just do whatever he wants to do with the military just because he happens to have that title [of commander-in-chief]," Grayson urged, before noting that Congress could hold the presidential office accountable for such violations through litigation.
With Americans split on Trump's decision to strike Syria, Grayson told the show hosts that the "most effective thing to do [to get their voices heard] is run against a congressman and defeat them."
Another option offered by the 60-year-old is to call your local representative.
"People do actually note these things," he said.