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12 Trump tweets about Syria that are very awkward right now

Almost one year to the day after he launched mostly symbolic airstrikes against Syria in response to a chemical attack against civilians, President Trump provided Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his most important ally, Russian President Vladimir Putin, with a heads up about forthcoming missile strikes he’s planning to launch in retaliation for another chemical attack on Syrian civilians.

“Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!’ You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!” Trump tweeted on Wednesday.

Within the hour, Trump reversed course and was tweeting about his desire for improved relations with Russia. But his decision to give Assad and Putin a warning in the first place flies in the face of a talking point he’s used repeatedly since becoming president — that unlike Obama, he’s too smart to telegraph his military moves.

“One of the things I think you’ve noticed about me is: Militarily, I don’t like to say where I’m going and what I’m doing,” Trump said in April 2017. “I’m not saying I’m doing anything one way or the other.”

That same month, Trump told Fox News, “I don’t want to telegraph what I’m doing, or what I’m thinking. I’m not like other administrations, where they say we’re going to do this in four weeks and that. It doesn’t work that way.”

Trump’s warning also represents a flip-flop from tweets he posted in August and September of 2013, back when he was a businessman who was trying to buddy up to Putin ahead of the Miss Universe pageant that took place in Moscow in November of that year.

Trump repeatedly attacked President Obama for signaling that he was considering military action against the Assad regime.

Not only did Trump think Obama was blowing it by telegraphing his military moves, but he was also very opposed to the idea of striking Syria in the first place.

At one point, Trump framed his opposition to military intervention in Syria around concerns that it could lead to a proxy war with Russia, and hence the outbreak of a worldwide conflict — a risk that is still very much in play today.

Trump also claimed that the Bush administration officials who led us into a disastrous war in Iraq shouldn’t be at the table when decisions about using military force are made.

Fast forward four years, and President Trump is weighing military strikes against Assad while receiving input from new National Security Adviser John Bolton — one of the Bush-era officials responsible for the “waste of blood and treasure” in Iraq.


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