Hail to the Chief! History Tells Us Why America Has Powerful Presidents

Hans von Spakovsky

On Presidents Day, we celebrate the life and accomplishments of our first president, George Washington, the father of our country, and Abraham Lincoln, our 16th president and one of our most renowned statesmen.

On that day, Feb. 17 this year, we should remember that the Framers of the Constitution wanted to ensure that an American president—such as Washington and Lincoln—would have the power to defend the country when the safety, security, and independence of its people are threatened.

And that power is exactly what they gave the president in the Constitution when they made him the commander in chief of our military forces.

This is particularly important given recent legislation passed by the House of Representatives, a so-called “war powers resolution.” It condemned President Donald Trump for ordering the lawful targeting of an Iranian general, terrorist mastermind Qassim Suleimani, and ordered Trump to stop using all military force against Iran without prior congressional approval.

Iran has been a longtime state sponsor of terrorism, according to our own State Department, and Suleimani made himself a target. He was a mass murderer responsible for thousands of deaths, including hundreds of Americans.

On a recent trip through Pennsylvania, I was reminded of what Americans have suffered at the hands of terrorists and the importance of having a commander in chief with broad constitutional authority to react immediately to threats against the nation.

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