The Awkwardness of Trump Criticizing Obama’s Red Line
Harry Truman had a message over his desk: the buck stops here. Over Donald Trump’s desk hangs the message: the buck stops with Obama.
“President Trump blamed the attack, which he said was carried out by the Syrian government, on former president Barack Obama, calling it a “consequence” of Obama’s “weakness and irresolution.” The reference was to Obama’s decision not to follow through with a threat to use military force against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after a 2013 chemical attack.”
But this is very awkward.
“In a statement released by the White House — just days after the administration said action against Assad was not a U.S. priority — Trump called the Tuesday attack “reprehensible” and said that it “cannot be ignored by the civilized world.” At the United Nations, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley called for an emergency meeting of the Security Council.”
Everything that goes wrong is Obama’s fault is the Trump playbook. But this is pretty rich considering that he never thought action against Assad was a US priority.
And let’s be clear: this is not a new view for Trump. In 2013 he was telling Obama to not go after Assad.
Both Syrian and Russian forces deny any involvement in the atrocity, but as CNN reports, “Idlib province is largely controlled by an alliance of Syrian rebel forces and is regularly targeted in airstrikes by the Syrian government and its ally, Russia.”
“The Syrian Coalition, an umbrella opposition group, referred to the suspected chemical attack as a ‘crime similar to that in Eastern Ghouta in 2013 that the international community allowed to pass without accountability or punishment,’” CNN adds. After the attack in Eastern Ghouta, in which over 1,000 people were killed, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad agreed to a U.S.-Russia deal to destroy the country’s stockpile of chemical weapons. Tuesday’s attack is the deadliest chemical attack since that agreement.”
It’s interesting how while the GOP has been so critical of Obama’s Syria policy, Trump in many ways takes what they criticized in Obama and accelerates it 100 times. The want to criticize Obama on the ‘red line’ thing but not Trump saying that action against Assad is not a priority.
And judging by Rex Tillerson’s words-or as usual for him-his lack of words, Assad is still not a priority:
“The attack was promptly condemned by world leaders. United Nations Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura described it as “horrific” and said the perpetrators must be held accountable. French President Francois Hollande accused the Syrian regime of a “massacre.” U.K. Secretary of State Boris Johnson went as far as to suggest Assad may be guilty of a war crime.”
“Bombing your own civilians with chemical weapons is unquestionably a war crime and they must be held to account,” Johnson said, according to the BBC.
“But the Trump administration stopped far short of Johnson’s statement. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — who received the Russian Order of Friendship from Vladimir Putin in 2013 — refused to even comment on the incident.”
For Tillerson, it’s not what he says but doesn’t say, and he doesn’t say a lot.
Meanwhile the elephant in the room-as always for Team Trump-is: Russia.
“But Spicer repeatedly refused to comment on the possibility Russian forces might’ve been involved in the attack. He also overlooked the fact Trump was strongly and vocally opposed to the Obama administration’s threat of military action after the Ghouta attack.”
So Trump is not willing to criticize Russia but very willing to blame Obama. But this is true with everything. Rick Wilson:
2/ I would have hoped the State Department and WH would have hit Assad's Russian enablers, backers, and protectors. They're central to his..
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) April 4, 2017
4/ …are going to form a white Christian alliance to sweep the Moooooslim horde into the sea. Putin is playing them, of course.
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) April 4, 2017
Similar to Erik Prince’s wild Iran-Contra like gambit: end Russian sanctions in exchange for Russia distancing itself from Iran.
But in the end this is what the WH’s answer is: absolve Russia and blame Obama.
P.S. As we saw in my poll out last week, the long awaited poll results are in, and right now I’m just 11 points down vs. Peter King (GOP-NY-District 2). And the voters don’t even know who I am yet.
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