After Donald Trump authorized a missile strike on a Syrian air base Thursday night, his critics began sifting through the endless tweets looking for ammunition to use against him. And they found it. The subject of Syria had come up before, and Trump’s opinion before he was President seemed surprising.
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As expected, the media has seized on Trump’s tweets about Syria. Even Fox new commentator Shepard Smith pointed out the seemingly hypocritical distinction between what Trump had said and what he done.
Yet Smith was on the air with former Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army, Gen. Jack Keane. After Smith’s tone grew incredulous, Gen. Keane came to the defense of the president.
Smith read the tweets:
“On June the 15th of 2013, [Trump] said: ‘We should stay the hell out of Syria, the ‘rebels’ are just as bad as the current regime. What will we get for our lives and $ billions? Zero.’ He also tweeted on August the 29th of that year: ‘What will we get for bombing Syria besides more debt and a possible long term conflict? Obama needs Congressional approval.’“
“And then on September the 7th, he said: ‘President Obama, do not attack Syria. There is no upside and tremendous downside. Save your ‘powder’ for another (and more important) day!’“
“There are certainly risks in this matter. There is nothing to say that the Syrians might, instead of not acting again, act again to draw the United States in. I’m sure that’s been part of the calculation, general.”
Gen Keane didn’t see the previous tweets as hypocritical, but chose to look at it this way:
“Well, of course it is – but listen, something has happened here since those utterings that you just mentioned. The fact is an election was held, and on January 20th, this person became president of the United States.”
“I think what you’re seeing here frankly is someone who feels a sense of accountability and responsibility as the President of the United States, knowing he has the power to stop the horrendous act that’s taken place, to do something about it based on the moral underpinnings of this great country of ours, and other God-fearing people in the world.”
“And I think he – that is what is happening. He is now president. He is no longer a guy like me, sitting on the outside, rendering opinions. He has the responsibility, and he feels accountable to it – and I think he’s made the right judgment here, to be quite frank about it, and we’ll see how it pans out.”
Here’s the video of the encounter: