President Joe Biden wrote a letter to House Speaker Mike Johnson on Friday detailing the decision to strike Yemen-based Houthi militants.
The president said Thursday's strikes were in response to numerous attacks against U.S. military forces, including on ships and aircraft, since late last year.
"These attacks pose a threat to the safety of United States forces and commercial ships and their crews, regional political and economic stability, and navigational rights and freedoms," President Biden stated.
The president noted that the Houthis had recently "perpetrated their largest attack in the Red Sea," launching missiles at U.S. and U.K. Navy vessels.
Thursday's strikes were carried out in cooperation with the U.K, Australia, Bahrain, Canada and the Netherlands, President Biden said. He added that the strikes targeted radar and surveillance sites, launch facilities and ballistic missile facilities.
"I directed the strikes in order to protect and defend our personnel and assets, to degrade and disrupt the ability of the Houthi militants to carry out future attacks against the United States and against vessels operating in the Red Sea region, and to deter the Houthi militants from conducting or supporting further attacks that could further destabilize the region and threaten United States strategic interests," Biden said.
Some Republicans and Democrats were critical of Biden's decision to strike the Houthi assets without notifying Congress first. Republican Matt Gaetz agreed with Democrat Ro Kahana, who said Biden was required to come to Congress before launching the strike.
Ro is absolutely correct on this. https://t.co/W8CzLDKwEx— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) January 12, 2024
President Biden, for his part, insisted he had the authority to order the strikes.
Johnson also didn't appear concerned with Biden taking action against the Houthis. Responding to a report about the strikes, Johnson said the action was "long overdue," adding that he hoped this was a "shift" in the Biden administration's approach to Iran and its proxies.
"They must understand there is a serious price to pay for their global acts of terror and their attacks on U.S. personnel and commercial vessels," Johnson said. "America must always project strength, especially in these dangerous times."