Maddow warns of ‘perception’ Trump ordered strikes to distract from scandals

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow on Friday warned that the "perception" that President TrumpDonald John TrumpLondon terror suspect’s children told authorities he complained about Trump: inquiry The Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh Trump to nominate retiring lawmaker as head of trade agency MORE ordered military strikes in Syria to distract from the domestic scandals plaguing his presidency would hurt their effectiveness.

"If the president of the United States is believed to have issued the order to launch this strike tonight, even in part because people think he wanted to distract from a catastrophic domestic scandal that is blowing up at home at the same time ... will affect the the impact and effectiveness of these military strikes," she said on her MSNBC program "The Rachel Maddow Show."

Trump authorized missile strikes against the Syrian government on Friday night in a joint operation with the U.K. and France. Syria's government is accused of using chemical weapons to attack its own citizens last weekend.

The strikes also come while the president and his administration are bogged down by personal scandals and criminal investigations. 

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Maddow, known for her sharp criticism of the president, emphasized that her comments were "not just political," and that a deliberate distraction by Trump is "worth considering" given his presidency being "consumed by scandal and criminal intrigue." 

The FBI raided the offices of Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen this week, amid an ongoing lawsuit levied by an adult-film star, Stormy Daniels, who alleges she had an affair with Trump prior to his presidency.

Meanwhile, an investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election rages on. And Trump has nearly overturned his inner circle in recent weeks, firing his secretary of State and national security adviser, while the head of his Environmental Protection Agency is also under fire for financial scandals.

"Even if you give the president every benefit of the doubt ... what else is going on in the president's life right now unavoidably creates a real perception around the globe that that may have been part of the motivation both for what he did and when," Maddow said. 

Maddow is not the only person to allege the possibility Trump used military action as a distraction. A Democrat raised the possibility in the immediate aftermath of Trump's announcement. HBO host Bill Maher also joked about it on his show Friday night, saying the strikes should be called “Operation Desert Stormy."