On Tuesday, an atrocious chemical attack on a northern rebel-held province in Syria killed nearly 100 people, including dozens of women and children. On Wednesday, the White House is still sending mixed messages about who should be held accountable for the tragedy, reports Abigail Tracy.
“Even in his condemnation of the attacks, Donald Trump managed to contradict himself, laying bare the inconsistencies in the U.S. policy toward Syria under the Trump administration,” says Tracy.
Immediately after Tuesday’s bombing, the White House was eager to pin the tragedy on the Obama administration for “emboldening Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government” through “the past administration’s weakness and irresolution,” according to Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
“It is another disgraceful chapter in American history and it was predictable,” Sen. McCain said on CNN.
Critics of the Trump administration were incredulous, noting that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in the service of the current administration, announced that the “longer-term status of President Assad would be decided by the Syrian people,” a stance remarkably similar to Russia’s, explains Tracy. Meanwhile, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley emphasized that, “Our priority is no longer to sit there, and focus on getting Assad out.”
Senator John McCain, and other foreign policy hawks, “denounced the apparent shift as giving license to the Assad regime.”