President Trump said Thursday that “something should happen” to Syrian President Bashar Assad in response to a chemical attack apparently carried out by his forces.
“He’s there, and I guess he’s running things, so I guess something should happen,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One when asked whether Assad should step down.
Trump declined to say what steps the U.S. would take to help oust Assad or comment on reports he is considering using military force.
“I don’t want to say what I’m going to be doing with respect to Syria,” the president said.
The Trump administration has reversed course and expressed a desire to take a tougher approach in Syria following this week’s gas attack, which left dozens dead, including children.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters Thursday “there would be no role for [Assad] to govern the Syrian people,” days after saying the people should decide whether the leader stays in power.
Tillerson said the U.S. would work with international partners to defeat ISIS, help bring an end to the country’s civil war, and then implement a “political process that would lead to Assad leaving."
“Those steps are underway,” he said.