White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders blasted those who suggest that President Donald Trump emboldened Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad to use chemical attack on his citizens over the weekend when Trump announced he soon would pull U.S. troops from the country.
“It’s outrageous to say the President of the United States greenlit something as atrocious” as the chemical attacks perpetrated over the weekend, she told reporters at Monday’s press briefing.
Sanders got peppered with questions about Trump’s troop-withdrawal announcement, which had taken his advisers by surprise, after Sen. John McCain kicked off the day suggesting that statement emboldened Russian ruler Vladimir Putin and Syria ruler al-Assad to launch the attack on rebels.
“President Trump last week signaled to the world that the United States would prematurely withdraw from Syria,” McCain said in a statement. “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. Initial accounts show dozens of innocent civilians, including children, have been targeted by this vicious bombardment designed to burn and choke the human body and leave victims writhing in unspeakable pain.”
Sanders shot back: “The only individuals who played a part in the attack don’t reside in this country … and to try to conflate that and make this in any way, to blame this president, is absolutely ridiculous.”
The president and his national security team are consulting allies to decide on their response to the attack, Sanders said. “As President Trump clearly stated, there will be a price to pay,” she added.
In other briefing zingers, Sanders said scandal-swamped EPA chief Scott Pruitt is still under White House review but declined to “make up an arbitrary timeline” when asked how long that review will take.
And, hours after Trump’s new chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow told a gaggle of reporters that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg needs to lose the hoodie and put on his big-boy suit and tie when he testifies in Washington this week, Sanders dodged questions as to what Trump thinks of Zuckerberg. All she’s reveal is that Trump and team are “looking forward to” Zuckerberg’s testimony.