Dem senator: Trump's Syria policy 'immoral and hypocritical'

Dem senator: Trump's Syria policy 'immoral and hypocritical'

Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyOvernight Defense: Trump's Syria envoy wasn't consulted on withdrawal | McConnell offers resolution urging Trump to rethink Syria | Diplomat says Ukraine aid was tied to political investigations Senate votes for North Macedonia to join NATO Trump's Syria envoy says he wasn't consulted on troop withdrawal MORE (D-Conn.) on Saturday ripped into President Trump's decision to order a missile launch on a Syrian air base, calling his approach to Syria "immoral and hypocritical."

"As a theoretical matter, a targeted military strike in response to a major violation of non-conventional weapons norms is justifiable," Murphy wrote in a Huffington Post op-ed. "Why have rules against chemical weapons use if no one is going to pay a price for violating the rules?"

"The problem is military strikes never happen in isolation – the before and after are arguably even more important than the strike itself," he continued.

"The actions Trump took leading up to Assad’s chemical weapons attack, as well as the all-important and totally unanswered question of what comes next, highlight the administration’s immoral and hypocritical approach to violence in the region."

ADVERTISEMENT

The Connecticut Democrat pointed to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's statement last week that Syrian President Bashar Assad's future as his country's leader would be "decided by the Syrian people."

That position, Murphy wrote, was an abdication of the Obama administration's position that Assad should be removed.

Murphy argued that the Assad regime took Tillerson's announcement as "green light" to carry out Tuesday's chemical weapons attack in Syria's rebel-held Idlib Province, which killed more than 70 civilians, including numerous children.

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioHouse passes bill taking aim at anonymous shell companies Turkey says soldier killed despite cease-fire in Syria White House staggers after tumultuous 48 hours MORE (R-Fla.) similarly argued it wasn't a "coincidence" the chemical attack happened days after Tillerson suggested Assad could stay in power. Ahead of the missile strike, however, U.S. officials slammed Assad.

Murphy also asserted that the Trump administration's lax attitudes toward Russia have taken pressure off of the Kremlin to keep tabs on the Assad regime's use chemical weapons. 

"Their inability to finish the disposal of chemical weapons, or their unwillingness to veto the chemical attack, can be explained by the perceived permission slip they have been granted by the Trump administration," Murphy wrote.

Trump on Wednesday condemned the chemical weapons strike, saying it had a "big impact" on him and altered his view of Syria. 

"I will tell you that attack on children yesterday had a big impact on me, big impact," he said at a news conference. "That was a horrible, horrible thing. I’ve been watching it and seeing it, and it doesn’t get any worse than that."

But Murphy said the comments highlighted the president's "hypocrisy," pointing to Trump's executive orders attempting to suspend the U.S. refugee resettlement program and barring citizens of certain majority-Muslim countries – including Syria – from entering the U.S. for 90 days.

"Trump claimed to have ordered the missile strike because he was so personally moved by the images of the children killed by the attacks," he wrote.

"Does our president not realize that these are the same children he’s twice tried to ban from entering our country?"