On Sunday morning, CBS aired an interview with President Trump. In the interview he attempted to answer a question about Syria.
Vox has reported that in the past Trump has criticized former President Obama for announcing potential military decisions before they happened. In April 2017 he said, “militarily, I don’t like to say where I’m going and what I’m doing.” Recently he did just that by announcing his plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria well before the actual withdrawal.
CBS’s Margaret Brennan asked Trump about the contradiction, saying “you’re telegraphing your retreat” from Syria.
Trump answered, “I’m not telegraphing anything. No, no, no. There’s a difference. When President Obama pulled out of Iraq in theory we had Iraq. In other words, we had Iraq. We never had Syria because President Obama never wanted to violate the red line in the sand. So we never had Syria. I was the one that actually violated the red line when I hit Syria with 59 Tomahawk missiles, if you remember. But President Obama chose not to do that. When he chose not to do that, he showed tremendous weakness. But we didn’t have Syria whereas we had Iraq. So when he did what he did in Iraq, which was a mistake. Being in Iraq was a mistake. Okay. Being in Iraq — it was a big mistake to go — one of the greatest mistakes going into the Middle East that our country has ever made. One of the greatest mistakes that we’ve ever made.”
Trump speaks about Obama’s “red line,” in which Obama threatened to attack Syrian forces if they used chemical weapons. He then backed down from the threat in 2013. Trump is saying that Obama’s backing down was bad, and that he, Trump, is better for following through and attacking Syria after their use of chemical weapons in 2017 and 2018.
While it makes sense, it did not answer Brennan’s question at all. Trump did not explain the contradiction between his actions and his words because if he were to do so, he would have to admit that he was wrong, either in his actions or in his words. Because Trump hates to admit that he is wrong, he gives a completely off-topic and incoherent answer.