Four years and countless tweets later Trump did what Obama ultimately decided not to do.
On Thursday, Trump ordered a massive airstrike against a military base operated by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA). The Pentagon launched 59 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs) from USS Porter and USS Ross, two of its Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers deployed to the eastern Mediterranean. The operation drew condemnation from Moscow and Damascus.
This situation closely resembles what happened in 2013 when the Syrian government was accused of using toxic compounds against civilians in Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus. These allegations were largely debunked, but the White House was for a time considering a military option against Assad, prompting Trump to go on a Twitter spree.
"Again, to our very foolish leader, do not attack Syria. If you do many very bad things will happen," he wrote in caps lock on September 3, 2013, adding that the United States will not benefit from this decision in any way.
AGAIN, TO OUR VERY FOOLISH LEADER, DO NOT ATTACK SYRIA — IF YOU DO MANY VERY BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN & FROM THAT FIGHT THE U.S. GETS NOTHING!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 5 сентября 2013 г.
Several days later, Trump reiterated his message to Obama, saying that a military intervention would have no positive implications. "President Obama, do not attack Syria. There is no upside and tremendous downside. Save your 'powder' for another (and more important) day!" he tweeted.
President Obama, do not attack Syria. There is no upside and tremendous downside. Save your "powder" for another (and more important) day!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 7 сентября 2013 г.
This is not to say that Trump completely ruled out the possibility of Washington launching a strike against Damascus. Although he was adamant that he would not choose a military option if he were at the helm. Trump urged the White House not to make the operation public before it took place. He also appeared to call on US leadership to be mindful of Russia's potential response to such a move.
"I would not go into Syria, but if I did it would be by surprise and not blurted all over the media like fools," he tweeted August 29, 2013. "If we are going to continue to be stupid and go into Syria (watch Russia), as they say in the movies, shoot first and talk later!"
@walaa_3ssaf No, dopey, I would not go into Syria, but if I did it would be by surprise and not blurted all over the media like fools.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 29 августа 2013 г.
If we are going to continue to be stupid and go into Syria (watch Russia), as they say in the movies, SHOOT FIRST AND TALK LATER!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 29 августа 2013 г.
True to his word, Trump made a statement on the Pentagon's attack after it was carried out, but he indicated that all options were on the table earlier Thursday.
Interestingly, 10 months earlier, in October 2012, Trump suggested that Obama could boost his ratings by carrying out a military operation in the Middle East. "Now that Obama's poll numbers are in tailspin watch for him to launch a strike in Libya or Iran. He is desperate," Trump said.
Now that Obama’s poll numbers are in tailspin – watch for him to launch a strike in Libya or Iran. He is desperate.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 9 октября 2012 г.
According to the Rasmussen Reports, a company which tracks presidential approval ratings on a daily basis, 46 percent of likely US voters approved of Trump's job performance, while 54 percent did not. The latest survey was released April 6, prior to the attack. To put this into perspective, in October 2012, 50 percent of respondent said that they approved of Obama's job performance.
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