As you have no doubt heard by now, I met with President-elect Donald Trump earlier today.
He asked me to meet with him to discuss our current policies regarding Syria, our fight against terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS, as well as other foreign policy challenges we face.
It would have been easier for me to refuse this meeting. The establishment and social media has been talking about this all day. But I never have and never will play politics with American and Syrian lives.
In fact, like President Obama, I strongly believe that now is the time for us to put our country first, and come together, regardless of political party, and tackle the many challenges we face.
This was an opportunity to advocate for peace — and I felt it was important to take the opportunity to meet with the President-elect to counteract neocons’ steady drumbeats of war, which threaten to drag us into an escalation of the war to overthrow the Syrian government.
This war has already cost hundreds of thousands of lives and forced millions of refugees to flee their homes in search of safety for themselves and their families. It has also strengthened al-Qaeda and other violent, extremist groups in the region. It would have been irresponsible not to accept this invitation. I feel it is my duty to take every single opportunity I get to advocate for peace, no matter the circumstances of those meetings.
I shared with him my grave concerns that escalating the war in Syria by implementing a so-called no fly/safe zone would be disastrous for the Syrian people, our country, and the world. It would lead to more death and suffering, exacerbate the refugee crisis, strengthen ISIS and al-Qaeda and bring us into a direct conflict with Russia–potentially resulting in a nuclear war. We discussed my bill to end our country’s illegal war to overthrow the Syrian government and the need to focus our precious resources on rebuilding our own country, and on defeating al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other terrorist groups who pose a threat to the American people.
In addition, where I disagree with President-elect Trump on issues, I will not hesitate to express that disagreement. You didn’t send me to Washington to make friends with the political elite. You sent me to represent you, and I am committed to doing just that.
In short: I will never allow partisanship to undermine our national security when the lives of countless people lay in the balance.
If that earns me enemies in Washington or at the State Department, then so be it.
I hope you’ll continue to stand with me and stay engaged. The cause of peace is too great for us to allow political disagreements or partisanship to stand in our way.