President Donald Trump said the chemical attack in Syria was horrific. He called the deaths of innocent children and little babies an “affront to humanity” that will not be tolerated. He continued, the United States stands with their allies to condemn the attack. However, when asked how, the president side-stepped the question.
Trump did make it clear that his view of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his country had changed significantly. It should be noted, the day before the attack, a White House spokesman stated it would be “silly” to remove the Syrian leader given the “political realities of the country.”
Nevertheless, the statements Trump made about the chemical attack came during a joint news conference with Jordan King Abdullah, on April 5, 2017. The president indicated there may be a change in policy but believed it unwise to say anymore.
Trump openly blamed Barack Obama for the attack. The former president stated their use would “cross a red line.” However, in 2013, when a chemical assault in Syria killed 1,400 and wounded 3,000 more, Obama did not respond with military force. Instead, Assad agreed to release all chemical weapons to the U.N.
The Obama administration wanted to remove ISIS and prevent the collapse of Syria. This is something the current administration must also consider. What happens if Assad is removed from leadership? Who will become the new leader?
UN Response to Chemical Attack in Syria
United Nations Ambassador Nikki R. Haley blamed Russia. She stated the Syrian ally had opposed any resolution that condemned the chemical attack. Haley warned,
When the United Nations consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action for the sake of the victims, I hope the rest of the council is finally willing to do the same.
Republican Rep. Thomas Massie, on “At This Hour,” discussed his concern that the situation could be aggravated by the U.S. He believes there should be an investigation into the chemical attack. He does not believe Assad is guilty of the assault and stated it could have been an accident of war.
Massie stated, “The first casualty of war is the truth,” and the U.S. is unsure what is taking place in Syria. His concern centers around Russia, who is keenly aware Secretary of State Rex Tillerson claimed Syria would decide its own fate. Massie asserts the government should act based on the will of American citizens.
Press Secretary Side-Step
Sean Spicer announced the Trump administration was preparing a military response to the chemical attack on Syrian citizens. However, the press secretary offered no further information. Trump insists destroying ISIS is a priority. He had previously accredited Assad in the Syrian efforts to take back the country from the Islamic State. Now, the president side-steps questions about how the U.S. will be involved in the punishment of the Syrian leader.
President Trump was meeting with King Abdullah to discuss a peace treaty between Palestine and Israel. He is hoping to garner the help of Arab nations to bring the warring nations together.
Jordan has accepted over 600,000 Syrian refugees, since the civil war. King Abdullah depends on assistance from western countries, including the U.S., to provide for the influx.
By Jeanette Smith
The New York Times: Trump’s View of Syria and Assad Altered After ‘Unacceptable’ Chemical Attack
CNN: Congressman: ‘I don’t think’ Assad is behind Syria attack
The New Yorker: TRUMP’S MOMENT OF TERRIBLE TRUTH IN SYRIA
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of DAVID HOLT’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License