President Donald Trump said Thursday that “something should happen” with regard to Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad in the wake of this week’s chemical attack, which US officials say he perpetrated.
Trump considering options for Syria retaliation…
“I think what Assad did is terrible. I think what happened in Syria is one of the truly egregious crimes. It shouldn’t have happened. It shouldn’t be allowed to happen,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One. “I think what happened in Syria is a disgrace to humanity. He’s there, and I guess he’s running things, so something should happen.”
Trump is expected to meet with his national security team later Thursday in Mar-a-Lago, according to a White House official.
Defense Secretary James Mattis will lead Trump through his available options, including what the potential consequences for military action could be.
If the decision is made to strike, the US military has warships and aircraft in the area ready to go.
Two US Navy warships armed with tomahawk cruise missiles — the USS Ross and the USS Porter — are stationed in the Mediterranean.
The US could also fly stealth aircraft B-2 bombers with relative safety to strike targets.
The White House official confirmed that in addition to Mattis, three other Cabinet secretaries are currently in Mar-a-Lago, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
Trump’s comments came shortly after CNN learned that the President is considering military action in Syria in retaliation for the chemical attack. The US has led a coalition bombing campaign against ISIS targets in Syria and has special operations forces posted there, but has resisted any direct military action against the Assad regime.
While Trump declined to say directly whether he believes Assad should be deposed, Tillerson said Thursday afternoon that Assad’s fate is “uncertain” and that the US is taking steps to bolster an international effort to remove Assad.
Tillerson’s tough words also extended to Russia, Syria’s primary benefactor, whom he warned to “consider carefully their continued support for the Assad regime.” READ MORE