ABC News correspondent Martha Raddatz pressed Donald Trump repeatedly on his Syria policy during the second presidential debate on Sunday night.
“If you were president, what would you do about Syria and the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo?” Raddatz asked, reading a question submitted online. “Isn’t it a lot like the Holocaust when the US waited too long before we helped?”
Clinton answered first, and then Trump started his response by attacking her.
“First of all, she was there, as secretary of state, with the so-called line in the sand,” Trump said, referring to the “red line” President Barack Obama drew, and then backed away from, on chemical weapons in Syria.
- Donald Trump ordered the attacks on Thursday afternoon and the strikes took place at about 7.40pm local time while he had dinner in south Florida with Chinese president Xi Jinping. Afterward Trump told the American people it is in their “vital national security interest” to “prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons”.
- The Pentagon alerted Russian military counterparts to minimize the risk of conflict. A spokesman said the strike appeared to have “severely damaged or destroyed Syrian aircraft”. Russian authorities disputed the claim, saying many missiles missed their targets. By Friday afternoon the base was already launching flights again, according to AFP.
- The American ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said the US “took a very measured step” and “we are prepared to do more”. She added that Iran and Russia bore “heavy responsibility” for the chemical attack, either by allowing Assad to use such weapons or through “incompetent” oversight of their ally’s obligations. “The world is waiting for Russia to reconsider its misplaced alliance with Bashar al-Assad,” she said. “The United States will no longer wait.”
- A spokesman for Vladimir Putin said the US had violated international law “under a false pretext”, and UN deputy ambassador, Vladimir Safronkov, warned “extremely serious” consequences could follow the strike. The prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, said the action “completely ruined relations”. Russia’s military announced it would bolster Assad’s air defenses, and it was not clear whether it would cut off the “deconfliction” hotline it uses to avoid clashes between US and Russian forces.
- Assad’s office said the strike was “foolish and irresponsible” and promised to redouble its efforts against rebels. His ambassador to the UN, Bashar Jaafari, claimed on Friday that “a number of martyrs, including women and children” were killed by the attack. An unnamed Syrian official told the AP that at least seven people were killed and nine wounded. Jaafari also claimed that the Syrian government had no chemical weapons.