Tonight, President Donald Trump oversaw the most significant military action of his presidency: a coordinated strike against a Syrian air base that he says served as the base for this week’s sarin gas attack by Bashar al-Assad, the President of Syria.
The strike, which utilized over 50 Tomahawk missiles, took place around 8:45pm EST. Trump, who is at Mar-a-Lago, made a statement from his private club to announce the action, specifically mentioning retaliation for al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons.
Here is the full text of his statement, transcribed by Politico White House correspondent Shane Goldmacher:
“My fellow Americans, on Tuesday, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad launched a horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians. Using a deadly nerve agent, Assad choked out the lives of beautiful men, women and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many. Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of God should ever suffer such horror.
Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched. It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons. There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the chemical weapons convention, and ignored the urging of the UN Security Council. Years of previous attempts at changing Assad’s behavior have all failed and failed very dramatically.
As a result, the refugee crisis continues to deepen and the region continues to destabilize, threatening the United States and its allies. Tonight I call on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types. We ask for God’s wisdom as we face the challenges of our very troubled world. We pray for the lives of the wounded and for the souls of those who have passed and we hope that as long as America stands for justice then peace and harmony will, in the end, prevail.
Goodnight and God bless America and the entire world. Thank you.”