Republican lawmakers on Friday lambasted President Biden for his response to the death of an American in Syria, arguing that he’s showing weakness and failing to deter America’s adversaries.
The criticism came one day after Biden ordered the U.S. military to carry out retaliatory airstrikes in Syria, where Iranian forces had killed a U.S. contractor and wounded six other Americans in a drone strike. The U.S. launches reportedly killed eight Iranians.
Iranian-backed proxy forces then proceeded to carry out their own retaliatory strikes on Friday, launching rockets that targeted a U.S. base in northeast Syria. There are no U.S. casualties and no damage to the base, according to first assessments.
Republicans in Congress said the apparent tit-for-tat between the U.S. and Iran is a sign of weakness on the part of the Biden administration.
“President Biden and his national security team are letting America down,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. “I fear General Milley and Secretary of Defense Austin are not proving to be up to the task of providing the deterrence America needs to remain safe. However, the ultimate blame for the failing foreign policy and military situation we find ourselves in lies with President Biden.”
Biden was referring to Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
“America has only one path available when attacked – respond swiftly and vigorously with overwhelming, punishing force designed to make enemies wary of engaging with the United States. Being strong is the best deterrence against future attacks,” added Graham.
The South Carolina Republican wasn’t alone in attacking Biden.
“Indefensible that American life must be lost before Joe Biden acts,” wrote Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. “Had he responded in force to dozens of earlier Iranian attacks, this tragedy could have been prevented. [Austin] needs to explain why he isn’t doing more to deter Iran.”
Rep. Mike Waltz, R-Fla., posted a graph showing that Iran-backed attacks increased after Biden took office, claiming that the president is pursuing a policy of “appeasement” rather than deterrence.
Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., also weighed in on Twitter, suggesting that Biden is “coddling” Iran.
“This is further confirmation that the US must stand strong against the IRGC and Iranian terrorism which clearly still has a stronghold in Syria and throughout the region,” tweeted Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., using an acronym for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a U.S.-designated terror group. “The Iranian regime is a threat to regional and global peace.”
The Pentagon said the U.S. had taken “proportionate and deliberate action” with its strikes in order to limit the risk of escalation in its targeted response.
Beyond the halls of Congress, many observers, including foreign and defense policy analysts, have expressed concern that such an approach will encourage Iran to continue striking American targets.
The White House didn’t immediately return Fox News Digital’s request for comment on Republicans’ criticisms.