Alfonse D'Amato

Congratulations, President Trump, on your two-part victory


I want to congratulate President Trump for finally sending a message to the coward dictator of Syria, Bashar al-Assad. The U.S. sent a firm message that we’re not going to stand by idly and watch Assad gas and kill innocent children and civilians. A missile attack against Syria was long overdue; this problem really should have been dealt with by President Obama and his administration.

Back in 2013, Obama warned Assad that the use of chemical weapons by his regime would be a “red line” and a “game changer” in terms of American military intervention in the Syrian civil war. According to report after report, Assad was using chemical weapons against innocent civilians, and Obama turned his head in a different direction so as to avoid dealing with the problem. This only emboldened the Syrian dictator, and in the eyes of both our allies and enemies it made America once again look like the so-called paper tiger.

This time around, the U.S. fired several dozen Tomahawk cruise missiles at Syria in response to a chemical weapons attack that killed more than 100 people. Trump took the proper action — this was far from an overreaction, as some have claimed. The missile strike sent a signal to our allies, in both the Middle East and Europe, that the U.S. will take appropriate action, including the use of military action, when necessary.

Many, particularly those in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, were beginning to question whether we had the will power to stand by our allies and treaty obligations. Make no mistake, this should also serve as a warning to the madman, the little dictator in North Korea who, because of his twisted brain, has become a threat to world peace. Our allies in that region of the world are at risk, and so is the U.S. I believe that we will eventually have to take action to remove Kim Jong-un by whatever means necessary in order to keep millions of people from being in harm’s way, but that’s for another time.

Right now I want to focus on applauding the president for his courage and action, and I think it’s about time the mainstream media gave him credit for his decision to use our military might in a very deliberate and sensible way.

Unfortunately, there are those in the media, particularly CNN, who love to say, “Oh, President Trump has changed his position from what he campaigned on, which was not to use force in Syria.” What the jackasses at CNN fail to acknowledge is that the situation has changed, and leaders not only have the right, but the obligation, to change a position when the situation calls for it.

I also want to applaud Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for invoking the so-called “nuclear option” and making it possible to for the Senate to vote on the nomination of our new Supreme Court justice, Neil Gorsuch. Never before had a filibuster been used against a presidential nominee to the court. The Democrats were totally out of line, and it’s unfortunate that partisan politics became involved in the selection of an absolutely qualified nominee who had been approved unanimously by the Senate to the second highest court in the land, the federal Circuit Court of Appeals. Congratulations to McConnell and Trump for selecting such an outstanding nominee.

Elsewhere on the home front, I am deeply troubled by Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s creation of a task force that will “review existing policies in the areas of charging, sentencing, and marijuana to ensure consistency with the department’s overall strategy on reducing violent crime and with administration goals and priorities.”

The attorney general claims to be a proponent of states’ rights, but now it appears that the federal government may be preparing to intervene in the 12 states that have permitted the legalization of marijuana. I believe that this position is wrong and will guarantee that there will be demonstrations across the country, particularly in those 12 states, bringing out hundreds of thousands of people in protest.

This is a dispute that will only detract from the important issues with which this administration should be concerned, such as tax reform, the desperately needed rebuilding of the nation’s infrastructure, the reforming of Obamacare and putting an end to sanctuary cities’ protection of criminal aliens. In addition, there are dozens of U.S. attorney positions that are still unfilled.

To engage in a battle with states that have legalized pot is counterproductive, and will only incite millions. More demonstrations in the streets are the last thing the country needs. Mr. President, put an end to this ridiculous task force and remind our attorney general to stay focused on the important issues.

Al D’Amato, a former U.S. senator from New York, is the founder of Park Strategies LLC, a public policy and business development firm. Comments about this column?