Rep. Paul Ryan announced Wednesday that he opposes President Obama’s push for military strikes in Syria, saying that the administration has bungled the situation and damaged the nation’s credibility on the global stage.
Mr. Ryan, Wisconsin Republican and the party’s 2012 vice presidential nominee, said that he does not think the proposed strike will achieve the president’s “stated objectives.”
“In fact, I fear it will make things worse,” Mr. Ryan said. “The president says a show of force will preserve our credibility. But a feckless show of force will only damage our credibility.”
Mr. Ryan is the chairman of the powerful House Budget Committee.
The comments put him at odds with with the top Republicans in the lower chamber — House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican — who support Mr. Obama’s push for a military response to the suspected use of chemical weapons by the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad that reportedly killed more than 1,400 people in a Damascus suburb last month.
Mr. Ryan joins a list of 2016 presidential GOP hopefuls on Capitol Hill who have come out against the president’s plan. Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas also have lined up against a strike.
Among other Republicans, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has taken a pass on weighing in on the issue, while Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has said the president must make a better case for action. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker also has not taken a clear stand on a possible strike.
Mr. Ryan said on Wednesday that the president has hurt the nation’s credibility by indefinitely backing off on his initial call for a rapid military response in hopes of stripping Syria of its weapons stockpile through international diplomacy.
“He lacks a clear strategy, and now he’s following Russia’s lead,” Mr. Ryan said, adding that the U.S. has a stake in the outcome of the bloody Syrian civil war.
“The best punishment for Assad’s war crimes is for the moderate elements of the opposition to prevail,” he said. “But the president’s ill-conceived, halfhearted proposal will do little to help. It will make America look weak, when we need to be strong. It will merely curse the past, when we need to protect the future. For all these reasons, I cannot support it.”