Trump wanted to kill Assad after chemical attack falsely blamed on Syria
Washington :A new book has revealed that US President Donald Trump allegedly demanded the assassination of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after a 2017 chemical attack that Washington blamed on Damascus.
According to an excerpt from the book by Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward, the US president told Defense Secretary James Mattis that he intended to assassinate the Syrian leader, after Washington accused the government in Damascus of a suspected chemical weapons attack against the militant-held village of Khan Shaykhun in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib last year.
“Let’s … kill him! Let’s go in. Let’s kill the … lot of them,” Trump told Mattis on the phone.
Mattis reportedly told Trump he would get “right on it” in an apparent attempt to pacify the president, but hung up the phone and instead told a senior aide, “We’re not going to do any of that. We’re going to be much more measured,” Woodward wrote.
The US national security team then prepared a plan for a more conventional airstrike that Trump ultimately ordered.
The Washington Post journalist also said the defense secretary had marveled at the time at Trump’s ignorance on foreign affairs and told close associates the US president had the intelligence of “a fifth- or sixth-grader.”
On April 4, 2017, a suspected sarin gas attack hit the town of Khan Shaykhun in Syria’s Idlib Province, killing more than 80 people.
The Western countries rushed to blame the incident on Damascus, with the US launching a missile attack against Shayrat Airbase in Syria’s Homs Province on April 7, 2017.
Trump tweeted a day later that the military attack against Syrian targets was a “Mission Accomplished!”
“A perfectly executed strike last night. Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military. Could not have had a better result,” Trump wrote.
Washington claimed that the air field had been the origin of the chemical attack. Damascus, however, said the Khan Shaykhun incident was a fabrication to justify the subsequent US missile strike.
Woodward claimed in his book that Trump had once mocked Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s southern accent and called him “mentally retarded” in a conversation with a White House aide.
The US president lashed out at Sessions, who he has repeatedly criticized for recusing himself from the Russian investigation, as he was speaking with then-White House staff secretary Rob Porter, according to the book.
“This guy is mentally retarded. He’s this dumb Southerner,” Trump told Porter while using a southern accent. “He couldn’t even be a one-person country lawyer down in Alabama.”
The Washington Post reported earlier that Woodward’s account was based on “hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand sources, meeting notes, personal diaries, files and documents.” The book’s release date comes less than two months before the midterm elections.