If you read between the lines during a recent news conference, Florida Republican senator Marco Rubio strongly implied that part of the blame for the heinous gas attack in a rebel-held town in Syria’s Idlib province that killed at least 70 people, including children, falls squarely on the shoulders of the Trump administration.
Leading up to the sarin gas attack, several comments were made by high ranking officials in President Trump’s office stating that it was not the United States’ responsibility to overthrow Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was quoted in the press as saying “the longer-term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people,” a view seconded by Nikki Haley, the United States’ Ambassador to the United Nations.
Rubio recently said in a news conference “It’s my belief that if you’re Bashar al-Assad and you read that it is no longer a priority of the United States to have you removed from power, I believe that that is an incentive to act with impunity,” later adding “I personally do not believe that it’s coincidental.”
The Florida senator further clarified his remarks on AM Tampa Bay. “In this case now, we have very limited options and look, it’s concerning that the secretary of state, 72 hours ago or a week ago, last Friday, said that the future’s up to the people in Syria on what happens with Assad. In essence almost nodding to the idea that Assad was gonna get to stay in some capacity.”
The attack, believed by activists to be the work of Assad’s regime, occurred on Tuesday, killing dozens in the process. Although Russia claims the situation was the result of of an airstrike hitting a chemical weapons factory, witnesses and survivors being treated on the Turkish side of the border attest to seeing chemical bombs being dropped from planes. The Syrian government’s military has denied any involvement in what is one of the worst chemical attacks in Syria in recent memory.
President Trump has also come forward and condemned the attacks as well as stating a change of attitude on the situation. “When you kill innocent children, innocent babies, babies, little babies, with a chemical gas that is so lethal, people were shocked to hear what gas it was, that crosses many, many lines, beyond a red line. Many, many lines.”