SALT LAKE CITY — Utah leaders Friday evening said they support airstrikes in Syria designed to stop alleged chemical attacks on civilians there.
The United States, France and Britain launched the strikes in reaction to what President Donald Trump said was Syrian President Bashar Assad's pattern of killing the innocent people of his country, leaving them "thrashing in pain and gasping for air." The Syrian government has denied using such banned weapons.
The action announced by Trump in an address to the nation shortly after 7 p.m. in Utah drew praise from the state's Republican congressional delegation, including Sen. Orrin Hatch.
"The response, deliberated meticulously with international partners and carried out with their backing and participation, reflects the president's commitment to restoring America's leadership in bringing Assad and his backers to justice," Hatch said on Twitter.
Gov. Gary Herbert offered a similar reaction.
"Tonight my thoughts are with our troops and their families as allied forces engage in precision air strikes against the Assad regime," he said in a statement. "We cannot tolerate this evil massacre of citizens. We are not free and the world is not safe without the valor of our armed forces."
Rep. John Curtis, from Utah's 3rd Congressional District, also weighed in on Twitter.
"Tonight, America and our allies are sending a clear message that we will not stand idly by while the Syrian Regime uses chemical weapons on its own civilians. My prayers are with our brave military men and women," he said.
Rep. Chris Stewart praised Trump's decision, saying he "did the right thing in ordering strikes on Syrian chemical weapons and military facilities. We must show the world that we are serious when we state that we will not allow dictators to use weapons of mass destruction," he wrote on Twitter.
"I'm thankful that our allies are standing with us. The world is united against Assad and his supporters," Stewart said.
Sen. Mike Lee also said in a tweet he is focused on the safety of U.S. military members in Syria and sought to learn if the effort would continue in the longterm.
"My thoughts and prayers are with the American service men and women in harms way tonight. I look forward to hearing from the President about his strategy for Syria and whether he plans to seek authorization from Congress for any further use of force," Lee tweeted.
Rep. Mia Love said the strikes were "decisive and precise action in reaction to atrocious human rights violations by a murderous regime in Syria. We stand together as a nation. God bless our brave servicemen and women who are in harm's way and serving our country."
Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox also touched on the military strike in a tweet, referencing a whirlwind of news stories Friday involving the president.19 comments on this story
U.S. Senate candidate Mitt Romney, a Republican running for the seat Hatch will leave this year, declined comment through a spokeswoman.
Jenny Wilson, Romney's Democratic opponent, offered measured approval.
"I'll give the administration the benefit of the doubt in this case and say it was an appropriate action, but I think we should go to — now, starting Monday —aggressive negotiations with the intelligence committee, the committees in congress that are educated and involved with their role as an essential check and balance on the administration, before we take further action in Syria," Wilson said.