Indeed, unlike a handful of other Democrats, Reid has not yet said how he prefers the administration to proceed. One of Reid’s top lieutenants and the No. 3 Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer of New York, attended an intelligence briefing by teleconference on Thursday with U.S. officials and suggested he would back the administration if it chose to launch a strike. (Reid did not join the call, and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also did not participate.)
“A limited action to knock out his capability of delivering chemical weapons in the future could be appropriate, but we have to be very careful not to let our involvement escalate,” Schumer said in a statement.
Asked why his lieutenants shared their positions while Reid has not, a Senate Democratic aide said it was too early to formulate a position. “Things are still developing,” the aide said.
The reason for keeping such a low profile, according to former Reid aide Jim Manley, is straightforward. There’s little upside for the majority leader to speak up before the president has made his decision public.