This Day in Trump, Day 78: Airstrike in Syria Reverberates Around the World

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump’s decision to launch a missile strike on a Syrian air base Thursday night dominated the conversation in Washington and around the world on Friday.The decision to fire dozens of tomahawk missiles at forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad moved the United States moved towards the brink of what could be another complex war in the Middle East and represented Trump’s most significant military action so far.Highlight of the dayThe world reacted with widely divergent responses to Trump’s decision to fire 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Al Shayrat airfield in Syria in response to the Syrian government's chemical weapons attack this week that killed more than 80 civilians.The move stuck a significant wedge between the U.S. and Russia, who had until this point appeared to be tenuously developing a friendlier relationship in the early days of the Trump administration. The Russian military announced that it was suspending an agreement to share information about air operations over Syria created to avoid accidental conflicts, and Russian President Vladimir Putin said the American strike dealt a “significant blow” to U.S.-Russia relations.The strike also went a long way towards demonstrating Trump’s real foreign policy after months of rhetoric that danced all over the spectrum. For years he had urged his predecessor, President Barack Obama, to avoid going into Syria, fearing that it could become a similar protracted conflict to the Iraq War. Even since taking office, Trump had expressed a reluctance to overextend U.S. force around the world.But in remarks Thursday night on the decision, Trump suggested that he had been profoundly moved by horrific images that had emerged from Syria after Assad’s chemical weapons attacks, which he said a day earlier had “crossed a lot of lines for me.”Trump authorized the strike with no congressional approval for the use of force, an assertion of presidential authority that contrasts sharply with the protracted deliberations over the use of force by Obama.Texas tiesMost Texans in Congress supported Trump’s decision to launch an airstrike, with Republicans calling the move strong and decisive, and Democrats acknowledging the horror of images that had come out of Syria in recent days showing the lethal impact of Assad’s chemical weapons on innocent children.But across the board, the Texans called on Trump to consult Congress before ordering any further military incursions into the embattled region, with some even suggesting that Speaker Paul Ryan end their two-week recess that just started to begin assessing options.Trump and the worldWhile Trump’s Middle East policy was rapidly evolving, he continued to huddle Friday at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Trump’s actions in Syria were certainly on everyone’s minds as he pushed for China to get more involved with ongoing problems in North Korea, as Trump has threatened to go it alone if China does take action. The Syria strike will have served as a reminder to all parties that Trump is willing to act unilaterally if need be.This is not normalTrump included several administration officials with no obvious connection to military policy in the meeting to discuss military options in Syria, photos from the White House show.  Continue reading...

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