President Donald J. Trump, who launched a swarm of Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian air base, spoke out against attacking Syria in a number of tweets in 2013, back when he was just a New York real estate mogul and Barack Obama was president.
Here are several of the tweets:
Many Syrian ‘rebels’ are radical Jihadis. Not our friends & supporting them doesn't serve our national interest. Stay out of Syria!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 4, 2013
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) September 5, 2013
Don't attack Syria - an attack that will bring nothing but trouble for the U.S. Focus on making our country strong and great again!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 9, 2013
The bloody civil war began in Syria with protests and a crackdown by Syrian President Assad in 2011. In August 2012, Obama said the use of chemical weapons by Assad would be a “red line” that could have “enormous consequences.”
There was a gas attack in March 2013, but a UN probe did not identify the culprit. But the Syrian government was blamed by the United States and others for an Aug. 21, 2013, attack that killed hundreds, the Associated Press reports.
Shortly afterward, on Aug. 31, 2013, Obama said he would seek authorization from Congress for punitive strikes against the Syrian government. That’s about the time these tweets were posted. Later, the tension subsided when Syria agreed to stop producing, stockpiling, or using chemical weapons.
Some in Congress are calling for Trump to get approval for further action against Syria with a congressional authorization for the use of military force. The Trump of 2013 would agree. He tweeted that such approval was needed if Obama wanted to take action.
What will we get for bombing Syria besides more debt and a possible long term conflict? Obama needs Congressional approval.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 29, 2013
Trump also sounded a theme in 2013 that persisted up until recent days: that the United States should stay out of foreign involvements and fix itself.
If the U.S. attacks Syria and hits the wrong targets, killing civilians, there will be worldwide hell to pay. Stay away and fix broken U.S.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 3, 2013
The Trump administration recently had seemed to be sticking to that attitude, saying the United States should do “nothing” in Syria and that it is not America’s “problem.” In recent days, the White House had even said it would be “silly” to keep trying to oust Assad.
“I’m not —and I don’t want to be — the president of the world. I’m the president of the United States. And from now on, it’s going to be America First,” Trump proclaimed in a speech Tuesday to a building trades union group.
But in a turnaround, at a news conference Wednesday, Trump said he had been horrified by the Syrian chemical attack.
He said, “I like think of myself as a very flexible person. I don’t have to have one specific way. ... And I have that flexibility, and it’s very, very possible -- and I will tell you, it’s already happened that my attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much.”
In another bit of irony, Fox News host Sean Hannity posted the following tweet around the same time in 2013 that Trump called for avoiding involvement in Syria:
Trump announced the Tomahawk missile strike Thursday evening from Mar-a-Lago, his private club in West Palm Beach, Fla., where he was hosting Chinese President Xi Jinping.