The president was pressed repeatedly at the G-20 summit about an aide’s remark that it is neither his “desire nor his intention” to carry out an attack alone, but declined to answer.
“You’re not getting a direct response,” Obama told reporters, adding that he wasn’t going to engage in the “parlor game” of debating a hypothetical.
His refusal to rule out acting over the objections of Congress came just hours after White House deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken said the president wouldn’t strike at Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime without backing from lawmakers.
“The president of course has the authority to strike, but its neither his desire nor his intention to use that authority absent Congress backing him,” Blinken told NPR.
Still, the president hinted it was unlikely he would proceed if the House or Senate rejected his request. He said that he “did not put this before Congress just as a political ploy or symbolism.”