Trump’s handling of Syria has some Senate Republicans very concerned

Amber Phillips writes: Foreign policy rarely falls neatly along partisan lines — President Barack Obama never got his prized Pacific trade deal through Congress because of opposition from Democrats, for example.

But the criticism from some powerful Senate Republicans this week as to how President Trump is responding to his first major international test — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s apparent deadly chemical weapon attack on his own people — is louder, more direct than normal and very eyebrow-raising. And it suggests that in the eyes of these GOP foreign-policy leaders, Trump has failed his first test in a very dangerous way.

On Tuesday, Trump issued a wishy washy statement that blamed President Barack Obama for the chemical attack.

In an interview Wednesday with local radio “AM Tampa Bay,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, placed the blame right back on the Trump administration: specifically at the feet of Trump’s secretary of state, Rex Tillerson. Rubio accused Tillerson of giving Assad a complicit green light to launch a chemical attack that killed dozens, including women and children, when he suggested days earlier the United States would let Assad stay in power.

“I don’t think it’s a coincidence that a few days later we see this,” Rubio said of the chemical attack on the heels of Tillerson’s comments in Turkey that Assad’s fate “will be decided by the Syrian people.” Earlier, Rubio said that “it’s concerning that the secretary of state … said that the future’s up to the people in Syria on what happens with Assad. In essence almost nodding to the idea that Assad was going to get to stay in some capacity.” [Continue reading…]

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