"A short time ago, I ordered the U.S. Armed Forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad", the president said from the White House.
Speaking to Bloomberg, the Republican Congressman claimed US President Donald Trump has an "under the scene" plan to come to a cooperative agreement that will bring all sides of the civil conflict in Syria together.
He first made clear that he meant to launch new attacks in a series of tweets earlier this week, issuing warnings against not only Syrian President Bashar al-Assad but also Russian Federation and Iran.
"President Trump's decision to launch airstrikes against the Syrian government without Congress's approval is illegal and - absent a broader strategy - it's reckless", said Sen.
Senate Armed Service Committee Chairman John McCain is applauding the airstrikes but said "they alone will not achieve US objectives in the Middle East".
"This massacre was a significant escalation in a pattern of chemical weapons use by that very awful regime", Trump said.
Backed by his hawkish new national security adviser John Bolton, who took office on Monday, Trump has been meeting with advisors and generals all week to plan.
Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at a Pentagon briefing that the first allied strike targeted a scientific research center in greater Damascus involved in the development and production of chemical weapons.
As Trump spoke from the White House, explosions lit up the skies over Damascus, the Syrian capital. "These are not actions of a man, they are crimes of a monster instead". He added that the US expects the Syrian government and its allies to conduct a "significant disinformation campaign", which the Pentagon would rebut with additional information Saturday morning. "It is not about regime change". He denied his military was responsible for the sarin attack last April, but groups including the United Nations and The Hague-based Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons concluded his regime was responsible.
But US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis struck a cautious note, telling lawmakers that the need to "stop the murder of innocent people" had to be weighed up against the risk of things "escalating out of control".
Syria and its ally Russian Federation deny such an attack happened.
Assad's attack occurred last weekend in a Syrian town, killing scores and poisoning many more. The strike, conducted with the United States and France, was "limited and targeted", created to minimise any civilian casualties, May said.
Syrian opposition leader Nasra al-Hariri called for an end to what he described as all attacks against civilians by the Syrian state and its allies, whether using chemical or conventional weapons.
"Russia was supposed to guarantee Assad would not use chemical weapons, and Russian Federation did the opposite".
In the meantime, British Prime Minister Theresa May said she had authorized British armed forces "to conduct co-ordinated and targeted strikes to degrade the Syrian regime's chemical weapons capability".
Two US officials said attacks could continue beyond tonight, with a senior administration official saying "this isn't over".