Donald Trump says Syria attack could be soon or ‘not so soon at all’


WASHINGTON — A day after saying missiles would be flying toward Syria, President Trump sowed uncertainty about his plans Thursday by claiming he never said “when” there would be an attack.

“Could be very soon or not so soon at all!” Trump said in a tweet in which he also claimed success in the fight against the Islamic State in Syria and elsewhere, but said he was not getting enough credit.

“In any event, the United States, under my Administration, has done a great job of ridding the region of ISIS,” Trump tweeted. “Where is our ‘Thank you America?'”

Later, Trump told reporters at the White House that he would be having more meetings Thursday about the Syria situation, and “we’ll see what happens.”

Decisions will be made “fairly soon,” Trump said, adding: “It’s too bad that the world puts us in a position like that.”

Questions about the timetable came a day after Trump signaled an attack in a response to a Russian threat to shoot down U.S. missiles aimed at Syria.

“Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria,” Trump tweeted Wednesday. “Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!'”

 A U.S. attack on Syria would be in a response to a chemical weapons attack on anti-government rebels, one that Trump and other officials blame on leader Bashar Assad. In his tweet at the Russians, Trump told them, “you shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”

Trump’s national security team huddled at the White House on Wednesday to discuss the response to Syria. The president is also speaking with allies in Great Britain and France about a possible coordinated effort, though German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday her country would not participate in possible military action in Syria.

“We have a number of options,” said White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, “and all of those options are still on the table.”

Some lawmakers criticized Trump’s apparent telegraphing by tweet of a missile strike in Syria.

“Promising war by tweet, insults not only the Constitution but every soldier who puts their life on the line,” tweeted Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova hit Trump in a Facebook post: “Smart missiles should fly toward terrorists, not the legal government that has been fighting international terrorism for several years on its territory.”

In another series of tweets on Wednesday, Trump bemoaned the state of relations between the United States and Russia. At one point, he blamed the tensions on Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his investigation into Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

By: David Jackson, USA Today