Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) advocated last week for increased cooperation between populist Republicans and left-wing Democrats on foreign policy matters. This call for unity follows the rejection of Gaetz’s War Powers measure, H. Con. Res. 30, which sought to withdraw all U.S. troops from Somalia. Despite the measure’s defeat by a 219-vote margin in the House of Representatives on April 27, Gaetz expressed gratitude towards several Democrats who supported his bill, including members of the “Squad.”
Gaetz acknowledged ideological differences but emphasized the potential for collaboration: “While we disagree strongly on a variety of issues, I think there should be greater connectivity between the anti-war right and the anti-war left.” Gaetz cited Reps. Ro Khanna (D-CA), Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) as advisers on his recent measure, and expressed gratitude for their counsel on war powers bills.
It’s time to bring our troops home. Today, the House of Representatives will vote on my War Powers Resolution to remove U.S. troops from Somalia.
The future of Somalia must be determined by its people, not the United States.
We should not be engaged in nation-building in… pic.twitter.com/Bd7Ga3zeNg
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) April 27, 2023
The mention of Omar is particularly noteworthy, given Gaetz’s previous efforts to remove her from the House Foreign Affairs Committee in February, citing allegedly antisemitic statements and trivialization of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Despite past disagreements, Gaetz commended progressive Democrat Ro Khanna, stating, “I wish more of the Democratic caucus shared the views of people like Ro Khanna on foreign policy.”
However, Gaetz’s views on foreign policy have been met with resistance from both parties. His resolution faced opposition from 165 GOP members, who allied with “neo-conservatives and pro-war liberals.” Gaetz criticized these opponents for using the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) as a rationale for continued troop presence.
When questioned about his stance on the AUMF, Gaetz avoided directly addressing the repeal or a potential vote but called it “a global provision slip for U.S. intervention.” Despite consistent rejections of his resolutions to withdraw troops from Syria and Somalia, Gaetz remains committed to anti-war efforts, saying, “I sometimes feel as though I’m waging a forever war against forever wars.”
The debate surrounding Gaetz’s War Powers Resolution highlights the complexities of America’s involvement in Somalia. Advocates of the resolution, like Gaetz, argue that the presence of 900 U.S. troops is insufficient to prevent violence between al-Shabaab terrorists and the Somali government and civilians. On the other hand, opponents like Rep. Rich McCormick (R-GA) maintain that the U.S. military’s global presence has been a stabilizing force and has protected American lives.
Last month, another Gaetz-sponsored resolution aimed at pulling U.S. troops out of Syria failed in the House. Despite these setbacks, Gaetz remains determined to end “forever wars” and bring American troops home, signaling an ongoing debate on the role of the U.S. military in foreign conflicts. As Gaetz seeks to bridge the gap between populist Republicans and left-wing Democrats on anti-war measures, it remains to be seen how successful this unorthodox alliance will be in reshaping American foreign policy.