Maine politicians are beginning to respond to President Donald Trump’s cruise missile strike against a Syrian air base in the wake a nerve gas attack by the Syrian government that violated international law and killed scores of innocents.

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree said Friday the American military action “is a proportional response to the despicable crimes of Assad’s regime toward his own people.”

But, the 1st District Democrat said, Trump “has flouted the U.S. Constitution yet again” by taking the step without first securing congressional approval.

“Just as I repeatedly called on President Obama to come to Congress before escalating the conflict in Syria, I believe President Trump must outline his strategy to Congress before taking further action,” Pingree said in a prepared statement.

Republican state Sen. Eric Brakey of Auburn, who hopes to unseat independent U.S. Sen. Angus King in 2018, said that if Trump “feels America must use force in Syria, then he has a constitutional duty to seek congressional approval and make his case to the Congress and the American people that this action is in the vital interest of protecting America’s national security.”

“The reality is this: American engagement in another Middle East civil war will only cost more lives and make us less safe – and we must only reflect upon the last 30 years as proof,” Brakey said.

 Pingree also called on the president to show compassion to Syrian refugees who are fleeing the regime and bloody civil war.

“We cannot resolve the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time with force alone,” Pingree said. “We must provide safety and asylum for Assad’s victims on our shores.

This story will be updated.

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree

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