In a statement that drew criticism from mainstream and left-leaning commentators, Trump said Assad’s airstrikes were a “consequence of the past administration’s weakness and irresolution.”
“President Obama said in 2012 that he would establish a ‘red line’ against the use of chemical weapons and then did nothing,” Trump said.
This represents a change of position for Trump since 2013, when he repeatedly urged Obama not to attack in Syria.
As a reminder, Obama in 2012 said the use of chemical weapons by Assad would cross a “red line” and merit a response by the U.S. military.
The next year, the Syrian military launched an attack of deadly gas that killed nearly 1,500 civilians, according to a U.S. intelligence assessment. Obama did not pursue a military response to the attack.
Around that time, Trump was urging Obama against countering Assad with force.
“The only reason President Obama wants to attack Syria is to save face over his very dumb RED LINE statement. Do NOT attack Syria,” Trump tweeted Sept. 5, 2013.
“Forget Syria and make America great again!” he tweeted Sept. 11, 2013.
NORTH KOREA FIRES BALLISTIC MISSILE
Another foreign policy challenge has reared its head as Trump prepares to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday.
North Korea stirred up fears by launching another ballistic missile early Wednesday, apparently testing a land-based version of its rocket that can be fired from a submarine, our colleague wrote.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had little to say after the launch. “The United States has spoken enough about North Korea. We have no further comment,” he said in a statement.
REPUBLICANS WORK TO REVIVE HEALTH-CARE EFFORT
The Republicans’ first attempt to revise the Affordable Care Act crashed and burned last month.
Now, the GOP is trying to revive the effort with a new proposal that would allow states to seek exemptions from certain Obamacare mandates.
Although House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) sought to tamp down expectations about the new proposal, he and other Republicans were engaged in a flurry of activity Tuesday to try to build consensus among disparate Republican factions.
Vice President Pence is helping to lead the talks.
TRUMP RE-UPS PLEDGE ON INFRASTRUCTURE SPENDING
The topic of Trump’s infrastructure plan has faded into the background amid the health-care controversy.
But the president brought it back to the forefront Tuesday while hosting a group of New York- area business executives for a town-hall-style meeting at the White House.
“We have to build roads. We have to build highways,” Trump said. “We’re talking about a very major infrastructure bill of a trillion dollars, perhaps even more.”
Trump’s chief economic adviser, Gary D. Cohn, highlighted his desire to improve the U.S. air traffic control system and the power grid as examples of projects that the plan may ultimately include.
EX-TRUMP ADVISER MET WITH RUSSIAN SPY
Here’s the latest update in the evolving story of ties between Trump world and the Russian government:
Carter Page, who briefly served as a foreign policy adviser to Trump’s presidential campaign, has been in the news this week after BuzzFeed reported he met with and passed documents to a Russian spy in 2013.
Page said Tuesday that he participated in a 2015 federal espionage case against a Russian spy ring, an implicit confirmation of the BuzzFeed story. He said the information he provided to his contact was innocuous.
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