Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated on Tuesday night that the United States should lead the international community in a “strong response” against Syria. Clinton went on to describe allegations that President Bashar al Assad’s use of chemical weapons violated “the universal norm at the heart of our order.”
Dozens of protesters across the street from the location carried signs and yelled, “hands off Syria.”
“Sometimes it can get pretty noisy,” Clinton said in response to the protesters. “But it’s the American way. It’s natural and right in a democracy for us to debate. For us to disagree forcefully even. It’s what distinguishes us from authoritarian societies where dissent is forbidden.”
Clinton spoke an just one hour before President Obama addressed the nation on the Syria crisis.
On Monday, Clinton openly supported Obama’s request for military strikes against Syria and stated it would be “an important step” for Assad to forfeit his inventory of chemical weapons.
“The Assad regime’s inhuman use of weapons of mass destruction against innocent men, women and children violates a universal norm at the heart of our global order, and therefore it demands a strong response from the international community, led by the United States,” she said.
The chairman of the National Constitution Center, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, presented Clinton with her award Tuesday night.
He joked that he and Clinton “disagree about lots of things but we do agree on the wisdom of American people, especially in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.”
Clinton and Bush are both possible candidates in the 2016 presidential election although neither has officially announced they intend to run.
Other notable recipients of the Liberty Medal include former President Bill Clinton, as well as President George H.W. Bush.