Rep. Peter King says the U.S. shouldn't negotiate with terrorist groups like Boko Haram, but that he "would not oppose" President Barack Obama if he were to send special forces to Africa to try to rescue the Nigerian schoolchildren.
"I don't want to advocate the use of troops, but put it this way: If the president decided to use special forces, I certainly would not oppose them," the New York Republican said on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront" on Monday evening.
King, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, has frequently criticized the White House on foreign policy. But he conceded that this situation -- the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls by Boko Haram last month, many of whom appear to be alive in a new video released by the group this week -- was "terribly difficult."
When asked whether the U.S. should negotiate with the group to try to rescue the girls, King said: "This is one of those terribly difficult decisions -- morally difficult -- but I would say no, that we cannot negotiate. Now, if it were my daughter, or my wife, or my sister, I realize the human impact. But the fact is once you start negotiating with terrorists, it just leads to more violence. It leads to more kidnappings. These people cannot be appeased. So no, as tough as that decision is, I would say we cannot negotiate with terrorists."
The U.S. currently is working with the Nigerian government on surveillance and intelligence matters, which King said is the primary way the military can help. He said that if the Obama administration were to push for special forces, though, he would "certainly support" the decision.
In 2012, King and Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.) wrote a letter to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, urging her to "immediately designate" Boko Haram as a terrorist group.
Delaware Sen. Chris Coons also warned against Nigeria's past strategy of negotiating with groups like Boko Haram, saying it's typically "not the right way to go."
The Democrat said Nigeria fought an internal resistance group for many years in its Delta region, which ultimately led to a negotiation and resolution.
"But arguably that insurgency was bloodier and longer than it needed to be because the government paid ransom and negotiated," Coons said Tuesday on MSNBC's "The Daily Rundown." "I think the same thing is playing out here in the northeast."