Sen. John McCain said President Trump’s comments suggesting he wants to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria “emboldened” President Bashar al Assad’s regime to commit the recent chemical attack that killed at least 40 people in the war-torn country.
“President Trump last week signaled to the world that the United States would prematurely withdraw from Syria,” the Republican senator from Arizona said in a statement Sunday.
“Bashar Assad and his Russian and Iranian backers have heard him, and emboldened by American inaction, Assad has reportedly launched another chemical attack against innocent men, women and children, this time in Douma,” McCain continued.
The Senate Armed Services chairman urged Trump to retaliate against Assad the way he did last year when he ordered a missile strike on a Syrian airbase.
(Graphic): Dozens killed after suspected poison gas attack in Syria
“The question now is whether he will do anything about it,” he said. “The President responded decisively when Assad used chemical weapons last year. He should do so again, and demonstrate that Assad will pay a price for his war crimes.”
McCain’s remarks came hours after Trump tweeted there would be a “big price” to pay for the attack while slamming Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iran for supporting Assad.
“Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria,” the President tweeted. “Area of atrocity is in lockdown and encircled by Syrian Army, making it completely inaccessible to outside world. President Putin, Russia, and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price.