In the past, Trump had repeatedly told Obama not to attack Syria without congressional approval, but on Thursday evening, he just did that. In 2013, the billionaire said Obama would make a “big mistake” if he didn’t first consult Congress first on the matter, but that didn’t stop him from single-handedly authorizing the launch of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles on a Syrian military base near Homs several hours ago.
Congress Lashes Out at Trump
Members of the U.S. Congress slammed Trump just moments after the Defense Department announced the president ordered a military airstrike against a Syrian air base on Thursday evening:
This is an act of war. Congress needs to come back into session & hold a debate. Anything less is an abdication of our responsibility. https://t.co/GvHML3ByeI
— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) April 7, 2017
The President needs Congressional authorization for military action as required by the Constitution.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) April 7, 2017
Another lawmaker described the attack “calibrated & proportionate” but he underlined Congress needs to authorize the use of force beforehand for “responsible oversight.”
Trump’s current views on the use of force in Syria are radically different from his views in 2013 when he expressed many strong opinions on Obama’s possible going into Syria.
However, it is not the first time. The billionaire backpedals on his past comments, which means that he had not expressed any deeply held beliefs on a particular issue. On Wednesday, he acknowledged that the horrific images of children being killed by toxic gas have changed his view on Syrian President Assad and the Syrian government.
A few days ago, Trump met with senior foreign policy and military advisers to talk about possible retaliation to this Tuesday’s chemical attack in Syria. It is unclear whether he would now seek Congress’s approval.
Trump Tells Obama NOT to Attack Syria, Repeatedly
When Obama sought the approval in 2013, Trump warned that it would be a “big mistake” if he didn’t.
CBS News reports that a few hours before the attack the White House and Cabinet leaders briefed two dozen congressional Republicans and Democrats.
But Trump was adamant in his opinion that the U.S. should not get involved in Syria. He even said Obama would be “foolish” if he considered taking action. At the time, he warned that if the U.S. bombs Syria “bad things will happen” and Americans will “get nothing” in return.
Countless of Trump tweets urged Obama not to attack Syria. He noted that there is a “tremendous downsize” and absolutely no upside to an attack. “Save your “powder” for another (and more important) day!,” he told Obama on Sept. 7, 2013.
On Aug. 29, 2013, he tweeted that he would not bomb Syria, but if he did, it would be a surprise attack and “not blurted all over the media like fools.” On the same day, he said the U.S. should “SHOOT FIRST AND TALK LATER.”
In September 2016, he told reporters the U.S. should be focusing on ISIL, not on Syria. He also said that if we had followed Hillary Clinton’s “plan” the world would have “end[ed] up in World War III with Syria.” Trump’s sudden change of stance, though, may be because he now has insider information about the situation in Syria, something he did not have access to as a mere civilian.
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