WASHINGTON — President Obama said on Saturday that he was ready to take military action against Syrian President Bashar Assad, but that he will seek the approval of Congress before carrying out any military strike.
Obama says congressional leaders have agreed to schedule a debate and vote when they return to session. They are scheduled to return from their summer recess on Sept. 9.
The president did not say whether he’d forgo a strike if Congress rejects his call to action.
“This attack is an assault on human dignity,” Obama said, with Vice President Biden standing by his side. “It also presents a serious danger to our national security.”
The remarks came amid a flurry of briefings for skeptical lawmakers by the president’s national security team. Shouts from hundreds of activists outside the White House protesting against military action could be heard from the Rose Garden shortly before Obama spoke.
“Over the last several days, we’ve heard from several members of Congress who want their voices to be heard,” Obama said. “I absolutely agree.”