Graham: Trump's response to latest Syrian chemical attack a 'defining moment' in his presidency

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamCentrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Graham quips key to working with Trump: We both 'like him' Centrists gain leverage over progressives in Senate infrastructure battle MORE (R-S.C.) on Sunday called President TrumpDonald TrumpHead of firms that pushed 'Italygate' theory falsely claimed VA mansion was her home: report Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting VA moving to cover gender affirmation surgery through department health care MORE’s response to this weekend’s alleged chemical attack in Syria a “defining moment” in Trump’s presidency.

“They see our determination to stay in Syria waning ... but President Trump can reset the table here,” Graham said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“If it becomes a tweet without meaning, then he has hurt himself in North Korea. If he doesn't follow through and live up to that tweet, he's going to look weak in the eyes of Russia and Iran,” Graham continued, saying Trump could “show a resolve Obama never did to get this right."

Trump on Sunday tweeted there would be a "big price to pay" in Syria following reports of a chemical attack on Syrian citizens in a hospital in Douma that left dozens dead. The death count will likely rise.

Trump, like Graham, blamed former President Obama for failing to respond more harshly to Syria's use of chemical weapons in 2013.


Meanwhile, Trump clashed with many of his national security and military advisers last week when he said he plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria “very soon.” He has suggested that the U.S. could extend its military presence in Syria if other countries, including Saudi Arabia, pay for it.

Graham previously called a decision to withdraw troops from Syria the “single worst decision” Trump could make. 

On Sunday, he reiterated his concerns, saying what happens in Syria “matters to the U.S.” He added that the best way to defend against threats from the Middle East is to work with partners in the region to combat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

“If you pull troops out of Syria … that’s the end of the U.S. being a reliable ally,” Graham said.