DES MOINES, Iowa — Seeking to solidify their anti-war bona fides, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and businessman Tom Steyer praised the 2001 vote of the only member of Congress to oppose military action against al Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
In Tuesday night’s Democratic primary debate, the pair praised Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee, representing Berkeley, California, for her lone opposition to the war in Afghanistan.
When asked about his vocal opposition to the Iraq War during the Bush administration, Sanders, 78, went a step further and praised Lee’s vote against the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force which effectively launched the Afghanistan War. Lee, the only member of Congress who opposed retaliating against the Taliban and al Qaeda for the 9/11 attacks, was seen as a fringe figure at that time of bipartisan consensus on foreign policy.
During a question about Iran, Steyer, 62, also mentioned Lee’s standalone vote. The former hedge fund manager also argued caution against any further military engagement in Iran, after the recent killing of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani.