Back in 2013, President Obama had to decide whether or not to send military forces to Syria to defeat the Assad regime and prevent them from committing war crimes against their own civilians. He could have done it unilaterally, but that would have created a huge stink and consternation in Congress, so he said, basically, “Okay, I’ll do it but only if you approve of it.”
So now we have had this horrible chemical weapons attack, clearly by someone other than the opposition in Syria because they don’t have the wherewithal, and not by ISIS since it was from an airstrike and they don’t have an air force. The world roundly condemns it, and of course the White House under Trump is turning around and doing what they do best: finding someone else to blame.
Today’s chemical attack in Syria against innocent people including women and children is reprehensible and cannot be ignored by the civilized world,” Spicer told reporters. “These heinous actions by the Bashar al-Assad regime are a consequence of the past administration’s weakness and irresolution.” Spicer also said: “President Obama said in 2012 he would establish a red line against the use of chemical weapons and then did nothing. The United States stands with our allies across the globe to condemn this intolerable act.” (Later in the day, the White House issued a statement echoing Spicer’s remarks.)
You know who also counseled President Obama to do nothing? Take a wild guess.
Whether or not Obama’s policy in 2013 was successful, this much is clear: at that point, Trump had an unambiguous position regarding Syria— do nothing. Throughout this episode, Trump tweeted up a storm about Syria. Repeatedly, he declared—occasionally in all-caps!—that Obama should not be messing around in Syria. He said there was no reason to attack Syria or take any action there. Let the Arab League deal with the problem. He was asserting that Obama should not respond to the chemical attacks—a policy certainly in sync with Assad (and his Russian patrons). Stay out of this, Trump demanded, and focus on domestic issues.
It’s as if they don’t even care that anyone would check the record and call them out on it.