President Donald Trump said Wednesday that it is now his responsibility to resolve the humanitarian and political crisis in Syria as he opened the door to military action in the country.
Trump upped the ante in a Rose Garden press conference after having said earlier in the day that the chemical weapons attack is a ‘terrible affront to humanity.’
‘My attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much,’ Trump declared, suggesting with the statement that he may be reconsidering his directive to US diplomats to take their focus off removing Bashar al-Assad from power.
The ‘horrible, horrible’ sarin gas attack that killed small children and ‘beautiful babies’ had a ‘big impact’ on the president, who declared Wednesday that the attack ‘crossed a lot of lines.’
‘When you kill innocent children, innocent babies…with a chemical gas that is so lethal…that crosses many, many lines. Beyond a red line,’ Trump said, making reference to Barack Obama’s infamous 2012 threat to Assad.
Obama warned Assad at the end of his first term that there would be consequences if he administered chemical weapons against his own people. Once reelected, Obama did not follow through.
As his time in office came to an end, Obama said the situation ‘haunts me constantly’ and that he wonders if there was ‘some move’ he could have made to broker peace.
Trump said Wednesday that Obama’s ‘blank threat’ to Assad ‘set us back a long way.’
‘I think the Obama administration had a great opportunity to solve this,’ he told a reporter asking about his predecessor and his ‘red line’ during an afternoon news conference. ‘It was a great opportunity missed.’
A written statement on Tuesday placed blame for the attack squarely on Obama’s shoulders, and Trump’s spokesman claimed during an off-camera briefing that it had nothing to do with this administration’s approach to the conflict.
Trump took ownership of the conflict at his Wednesday press conference, proclaiming from the White House’s Rose Garden, ‘I now have responsibility. And I will have that responsibility and carry it very proudly.’
But I’ll tell you, that responsibility could’ve…been made a lot easier if it was handled years ago,’ the president added.
Trump reflected on the difference between his approach and the one he was criticizing, and said, ‘I like to think of myself as a very flexible person. I don’t have to have one specific way.’
He did not want to say in front of the cameras how he plans to respond to the crisis.
‘I don’t like to say where I’m going and what I’m doing,’ Trump reminded. ‘I watched past administrations say, “We will attack at such-and- such a day, at such-and-such an hour.’
Looks like Trump is saying he now has ‘Responsibility’ to start WWIII in Syria