Thursday night’s Syrian missile strike has drawn dividing lines even among Democrats and Republicans. And while there are a lot of different and important aspects of the military action, many in the media are asking what this means for Trump’s presidency.
He’s still less than 100 days into his administration and the White House has met a handful of stumbling blocks. Their health care bill died before even getting a vote, they’ve been unable to separate themselves from the notion that Russia helped put Trump in power and the cabinet is still incomplete.
Perhaps the most interesting argument (and one that we’ll never agree on) is when Trump became “presidential.” After the joint session speech, left-leaning Van Jones declared “he became President of the United States in that moment. Period.” And on Thursday night, Trump received praise from CNN pundit and Washington Post columnist Fareed Zakaria.
When asked about the Syrian attack, Zakaria said, “I think Donald Trump became president of the United States.” Later he explained his stance by saying “President Trump recognized that the President of the United States does have to act to enforce international law.” At another point in the segment, Zakaria said, “For the first time really as president he talked about international norms, international rules. About America’s role to enforce justice in the world. It was the kind of rhetoric we have come to expect from American presidents since Harry Truman.”
While many are criticizing Trump for not consulting congress before launching the attack, Zakaria pointed out, “President Trump realized, as every president has for many decades now, that presidents always believe they have inherent legal authority as commander-in-chief and that they don’t need to go to a pesky congress every time they want military force.”
The Syrian missile attack was the second military action under Trump and many criticized his first–a SEAL raid in Yemen–as being poorly executed. His most recent attack has already prompted a response from Russia and it’s likely that our allies and enemies will soon have to at least tell us (and the rest of the world) where they stand.