National Security & Defense

Matt Gaetz: Trump Claims to be ‘More Anti-War Than I Am’ and Understood My Support for War Powers Resolution

Representative Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Florida, speaks during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S. December 12, 2019. (Alex Edelman/Pool via Reuters)

Congressman Matt Gaetz (R., Fl.) revealed Thursday night that President Trump told him “he’s more antiwar than I am,” following a House vote to pass a resolution to curtail Trump’s war powers vis-a-vis Iran.

Publicly, the president voiced opposition to the resolution, calling Pelosi “crazy” and saying “I fully agree” with former national security adviser John Bolton, who called the 1973 War Powers Resolution “unconstitutional.”

Trump also retweeted Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), who called the resolution “an infringement on the president’s constitutional powers as Commander in Chief,” and said its passage “increased the likelihood of conflict.”

But Gaetz, one of three Republicans to vote for the resolution, told fellow intervention skeptic Tucker Carlson in an interview Thursday night that he spoke to Trump, who told him that while he had preferred Gaetz to join House Republicans in a unified vote against the resolution, he “understands that the pro-war candidate loses presidential elections.”

In a statement to National Review, Gaetz explained why he voted for the resolution, which was proposed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier this week.

“I believe this war powers resolution was worthy of support because it did not criticize the president,” Gaetz explained. “It said that if any president wants to drag our nation into another forever Middle East war, it requires the approval of the U.S. Congress. That’s something I deeply believe and something I think President Trump deeply believes.”

In a statement Friday, the State Department said American troops would remain in Iraq after Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to withdraw U.S. forces from the country.

“America is a force for good in the Middle East,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus read. “Any delegation sent to Iraq would be dedicated to discussing how to best recommit to our strategic partnership — not to discuss troop withdrawal, but our right, appropriate force posture in the Middle East.”

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