A History of Trump's Conflicting Statements on Bombing Syria

President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump delivers an statement about missile strikes on a Syrian airbase, at his Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida, April 6, 2017. Carlos Barria/Reuters

Speaking at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida Thursday night, President Donald Trump detailed the launching of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian airfield.

"Tonight I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched," he said. "It is in this vital, national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons."

Both the statement and the actions of the military under his command represented a dramatic departure from Trump's numerous previous comments on the conflict in Syria. The same was true of his remarks immediately following Syria's alleged chemical weapons attack Tuesday.

"These heinous actions by the Bashar al-Assad regime are a consequence of the past administration's weakness and irresolution," Trump said in a statement Tuesday. "President Obama said in 2012 that he would establish a 'red line' against the use of chemical weapons and then did nothing,"

President Barack Obama had stated in August 2012 that "a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized."

A year later, a chemical attack using the nerve agent sarin in the Syrian capital Damascus killed more than 1,400 people. The U.S. assessed with "high confidence" that the Syrian government had been responsible. Over the following weeks, Obama weighed following through on his "red-line" statement with military action against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and said he'd seek approval from Congress. He ultimately postponed the vote indefinitely after it was clear that the Republican majority would not approve military action.

Meanwhile, Trump, then a reality TV host, repeatedly said the U.S. should not enter the Syrian civil war.

We should stay the hell out of Syria, the "rebels" are just as bad as the current regime. WHAT WILL WE GET FOR OUR LIVES AND $ BILLIONS?ZERO

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2013

What will we get for bombing Syria besides more debt and a possible long term conflict? Obama needs Congressional approval.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 29, 2013

President Obama's weakness and indecision may have saved us from doing a horrible and very costly (in more ways than money) attack on Syria!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 1, 2013

"@mguarino64: @realDonaldTrump " How would you treat the Syria situation if president ?" I'd let them all fight with each other-focus on US!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 1, 2013

The Arab League stated that it wants nothing to do with an attack on Syria, but they want us to attack.Are our leaders insane or just stupid

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 2, 2013

If the U.S. attacks Syria and hits the wrong targets, killing civilians, there will be worldwide hell to pay. Stay away and fix broken U.S.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 3, 2013

What I am saying is stay out of Syria.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 4, 2013

Many Syrian ‘rebels’ are radical Jihadis. Not our friends & supporting them doesn't serve our national interest. Stay out of Syria!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 4, 2013

The only reason President Obama wants to attack Syria is to save face over his very dumb RED LINE statement. Do NOT attack Syria,fix U.S.A.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2013


— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2013

President Obama, do not attack Syria. There is no upside and tremendous downside. Save your "powder" for another (and more important) day!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 7, 2013

Don't attack Syria - an attack that will bring nothing but trouble for the U.S. Focus on making our country strong and great again!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 9, 2013

Obama must now start focusing on OUR COUNTRY, jobs, healthcare and all of our many problems. Forget Syria and make America great again!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 11, 2013